Foxe's Book of Martyrs
Burning of Dirick Carver, John Launder, John Denley, John Newman, Patrick Packingham, and Other Godly Martyrs.
THE 22nd day of this month of July was burned at Lewes, in Sussex, one Dirick Carver, brewer, late of Brighthelmstone, in the same country. And the next day was also burned at Stenning, another named John Launder, husbandman, late of Godstone, in Surrey. These two men were (with others) about the end of October, anno 1554, apprehended by Edward Gage, gentleman, as they were at prayers in the house of Carver; and by him sent up to the queen's council, who, after examination, sent them to Newgate, there to attend the leisure of Boner. From whence (upon the bishop's receipt of a letter from the lord treasurer) they were brought on the 8th of June into the bishop's house in London; and there (being examined upon divers points of religion) they made their several confessions, subscribing and signing with their own hands. These being read, the bishop objected unto them certain other articles, causing them to swear truly and directly to answer thereunto; which articles they confessed to be true, referring themselves chiefly to their former confessions. This done, after long persuasions and fair exhortations, they were demanded whether they would stand to their answers. Launder said, "I will never go from these answers so long as I live." Carver also confirmed the same; upon which they were commanded to appear again in the Consistory on the 10th.
On Monday, being the said 10th of June, these two persons, with others, were brought to the bishop's consistory. The bishop, beginning with Carver, caused his confession with the articles and answers to be openly read to him, asking him whether he would stand to the same. To which Carver answered that he would: "for your doctrine," said he, "is poison and sorcery. If Christ were here, you would put him to a worse death than he was put to before. You pretend and say that you can make a god: ye can make a pudding as well. Your ceremonies in the church be beggary and poison. And further I say, that auricular confession is contrary to God's word, and very poison:" with divers other such words.
The bishop, seeing this constancy, and finding that neither his flatteries nor threatenings could once move this good man to incline to their idolatry, pronounced his usual and general blessing, as well towards Carver as also upon the said John Launder; who (after the like manner of process used with him) remained in the same constancy. They were therefore both delivered unto the sheriffs, who were there present; but after wards were conveyed to the places above named, and there most joyfully gave their bodies to be burned in the fire, and their souls into the hands of almighty God, by Jesus Christ, who had assured them to a better hope of life.
Furthermore, on the said Carver's coming into the town of Lewes to be burned, the people called upon him, beseeching God to strengthen him in the faith of Jesus Christ. He thanked them, and prayed unto God to strengthen them in the like faith. When he came to the stake, he kneeled down and made his prayers, and the sheriff made haste. Then his book was thrown into the barrel; and when he had stripped (as a joyful member of God) he went into the barrel himself. And as soon as he came in, the unbending, fearless man took up the New Testament which some one had thrown into it, and threw it among the people, as though he would not suffer the profanation of the word of the Lord being burnt with him. He then, with a serene countenance and solemn voice, addressed them in these words. "Dear brethren and sisters, witness you all, that I am come to seal with my blood Christ's gospel, because I know that it is true: it is not unknown unto you, but that it hath been truly preached here in Lewes, and in all places of England, and now it is not. And because that I will not here deny the gospel, and be obedient to man's laws, I am condemned to die. Dear brethren, as many of you as do believe upon the Father, the son, and the Holy Ghost, unto everlasting life, see you do the works appertaining to the same. And as many of you as do believe upon the pope of Rome, or any of his laws which he sets forth in these days, you do believe to your utter condemnation; and, except the great mercy of God, you shall burn in hell perpetually." After that the fire came to him, he cried, "O Lord, have mercy upon me;" and sprung up in the fire calling upon the name of Jesus, and so ended.
About the same time was burnt at Chichester, Thomas Iveson, of Godstone, in the country of Surray, carpenter. His apprehension, examination, constancy, and condemnation, were at the same time, and nearly in the same form with that of Dirick Carver and John Launder. The same fate awaited John Aleworth; but that he died in prison at the town of Reading, where he was confined, for the testimony of the gospel. Although the catholic prelates, according to their usual solemnity, excluded him from christian burial, yet we see no cause to exclude him from the number of Christ's holy martyrs, and heirs of his heavenly kingdom and glory.
Among the number that endeavoured in these trying days to keep a good conscience, was James Abbes, a young man, who was forced to share his part with his brethren in wandering from place to place, to avoid the peril of apprehension. At length he was caught by the hands of the enemy, and brought before Dr. Hopton, bishop of Norwich: who examining him respecting his religion, and charging him therewith, began to threaten and persuade him so strongly, that at last he appeared willing to recant. After he was dismissed, the bishop calling him again, gave him a piece of money, which when James had received, and had again withdrawn, his conscience began to throb, and he returned immediately to the bishop, threw him his money, and said, he repented that he ever gave his consent to their wicked persuasions. Hereupon, Dr. Hopton with his chaplains laboured afresh to win him again, but in vain; for he would not yield, but stood manfully in his Master's quarrel to the end, and abode the torture of the fire in the consuming of his body to ashes, which took place in Bury, the second of August, 1555.
In the midst of this rage of the malignant adversaries against the saints, there was one Edmund Tyrrel, a justice of the peace within the county of Essex, who on returning from the burning of some martyrs, met with John Denley, and John Newman, both of Maidstone in Kent, travailing upon he way, and going to visit some of their friends in Essex. Full of officious zeal, he apprehended them upon suspicion, searched them, and finding the confession of their faith about them in writing, sent them with a letter to the queen's commissioners. The commissioners immediately dispatched them to bishop Bonner, who on June 28th, caused Denley and Newman, with one Patrick Packingham, to be brought into his chamber, where examining them upon their confessions, they all answered in effect one thing. Upon this they were commanded to appear in the bishop's consistory the fifth of the following month.
The articles of objection to Mr. Denley have some points of diversity from what have already appeared: sufficient to claim for them insertion. That the said Denley hath not believed, nor doth believe, that there is any catholic church of Christ here in earth. That he hath not believed, nor doth believe, that this church of England is any part or member of the said catholic church. That he hath believed and doth believe, that the mass now used in England is full of idolatry and evil, and plain against God's word, and therefore he hath not heard it, nor will hear it. That he hath believed, and doth believe, that auricular confession now used in this realm of England, is not good, but contrary to God's word; that absolution given by the rest on hearing confession, is not good, nor allowable by God's word, but contrary to the same; that the christening of children, as it is now used in the church of England, is not good, nor allowable by God's word, but against it: likewise confirming of children, giving of orders, saying of matins and even-song, anointing of sick persons, making of holy bread and water, with the rest of the church; that there are but two sacraments in Christ's catholic church, namely, that of baptism and the sacrament of the altar; that forasmuch as Christ is ascended up into heaven, therefore the very body of Christ is not in the sacrament of the altar. To these were added the following charge, That thou Patrick Packingham, now being of the age of twenty-one at least, being within the house of the bishop of London at St. Paul's and by him brought to the great chapel to hear mass there, the said 23rd day of June, in the year of our Lord 1555, didst unreverently stand in the said chapel, having thy cap on thy head all the time of mass; and didst also refuse to receive holy water and holy bread at the hands of the priest, there contemning and despising the mass, and the said holy water and bread.
The answers to these objections possess also sufficient interest and importance to merit record. "I believe the holy catholic church, which is built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Christ being the head; which holy church is the congregation of faithful people dispersed through the whole world; which church doth truly preach God's holy word, and doth also administer the two sacraments of baptism and the supper of the Lord, according to that word. I do believe that the church of England, using the faith and religion which is now used, is no part or member of the foresaid catholic church, but is the church of antichrist, the bishop of Rome being the head thereof. christ's testament is that he would have all things done to the edifying of the people, as it appeareth when he taught them to pray; and also it appeareth by St. Paul, when he saith--'He that prophesieth, seaketh unto men for their edifying, for their exhortation, and for their comfort: he that speaketh with tongues, profiteth himself; he that prophesieth, edifieth the congregation. Even so likewise, when you speak with tongues, except you speak words that have signification, how shall it be understood what is spoken? for you shall but speak in the air.'
"I do believe, that the mass now used in England is abominable idolatry and blasphemy against God's holy word; for Christ is his holy supper instituted the sacrament of bread and wine to be eaten together in remembrance of his death till he come, and not to have them worshipped, and made an idol of: for God will not be worshipped in his creatures, but we ought to give him praise for his creatures, which he hath created for us. For he saith in the second commandment, 'Thou shalt not make thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above or in the earth beneath, thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them.'
"I do believe, that auricular confession is not good as it is now used. Touching my sins wherein I have offended God, I must seek to him for remission thereof; for our Saviour saith, 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are laden, I will give you rest.' The prodigal son saith, 'I will arise and go to my father, and I will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.' Also David saith, 'I acknowledge my sin unto thee. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee.'
"I believe, as touching the sacrament of baptism, it is altered and changed; for St. John used nothing but the preaching of the word and the water, as it doth appear when Christ required to be baptised of him, and others also who came to John to be baptised. The chamberlain said, 'See here is the water, what hindereth me to be baptised?' It appeareth here that Philip had preached unto him. We do not read, that he asked for any cream, oil, or spittle, or conjured water, or conjured wax, or salt; for it seemeth that Philip had preached no such thing to him;f or he would as well have asked for them as for water; and the water was not conjured, but even as it was before. Then there are no more sacraments that two; baptism, and the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ; except you will make the rainbow a sacrament, ye have my mind written already, plainly expressed: for Christ's body is in heaven, and will not be contained in so small a piece of bread. And as the words which Christ spake are true indeed, so must they also be understood by other places of scripture which Christ spake himself, and also the apostles after him. And thus I make an end." All this Denley signed with his name.
On the 1st day of July, the three prisoners, Denley, Newman, and Packingham, were brought into the consistory in St. Paul's, where Bonner proceeded against them after the usual form; reading first their confessions, articles, and answers, and then tempting them sometimes with fair promises, at other times with threatenings, which indeed were his strongest arguments and reasons. In the end, seeing their unmoveable constancy, upon the 5th of July he condemned them as heretics, and delivered them to the sheriffs of London, as to his common executioners. The sheriffs kept them till they were commanded by writ to send them to their several places of suffering; and accordingly Mr. Denley was conveyed to Uxbridge, where he was burned on the 8th of August; and in the midst of the flames he sung a psalm with remarkable strength and fervency. Mr. Packingham suffered at the same town, about three weeks after. Their fellow-prisoner Newman survived another month, during which the following examination of his opinions took place.
One of the doctors, whose name Newman doth not express, began to question him on the words of Christ--"This is my body which is given for you." To this Newman promptly replied, "It is a figurative speech, one thing spoken, and another meant; as Christ saith--'I am a vine, I am a door, I am a stone.' Is he therefore a material stone, vine, or door?--I do not so believe; for the soul of man doth not feed upon natural things as the body doth. I think the soul of man doth feed as the angels in heaven, whose feeding is only the pleasure, joy, felicity, and delectation that they have of God: and so the souls of man doth fed and eat, through faith of the body of Christ. The souls doth life otherwise than the body which doth perish: therefore natural things to but feed the body only. I pray you, what did Judas receive at the supper? You say that Judas received the very body of Christ; but the devil had entered into him before, and then he had the devil and Christ in him at one time. We ought to know that Christ will not be in an unclean person, who hath the devil."
Dr. Thorton, suffragan of Dover, then sought to confound Mr. Newman by the favourite popish argument drawn from the omnipotence and omnipresence of God. He saith--"Seeing God may do all things, he may do what he list, and be where he will. And doth not the Psalm say, He is in hell, and in all places? Why should we then doubt of his being in the sacrament?" "Though his Godhead be in all places, yet that is not sufficient to prove tat his humanity is in all places," answered Newman. "I believe tat God is omnipotent, and may do all things. I know that he can also be every where; but will you have the humanity of Christ in all places as the Deity is? When you say that if it please him he may be in all places with the Deity; I dare not even grant that, lest I should deny Christ to be a very man, and that were against all the scriptures." Thornton then put to him the question plainly--"How say you, is the body of Christ really in the sacrament, or no?" To which Newman replied, "I believe it not, and must deny it till I be persuaded by a further truth. I stand not,as you say, to mine own opinion but to the scriptures of God."
Being, like his noble companions, found faithful and unalterable in the cause of truth, he was, as before observed, condemned with them. Accounts differ concerning the place of his martyrdom--some assigning it to Walden in Essex, and others to Chichester, in Sussex. Being an inhabitant of Maidstone, it might be conjectured that he suffered there, as the condemned were usually appointed to die where they had mostly lived. It is, however, the more probable that he endured the fiery ordeal at Chichester, in company with Richard Hook, an equally faithful, though not an equally clever man, the latter end of August, 1555.
Mention has been already made in the story of Mr. John Bland, and Mr. Nicholas sheterden, of other Kentish men, who were with them called for the and examined by Thornton, suffragan of Dover, Dr. Harpsfield, Richard Faucet, and robert Collins; but their condemnation and execution were deferred till the latter end of august. There names were Coker, Hopper, Laurence, Collier, Wright, and Stere. The articles objected to them have been before related. To which articles they severally answered as follows.
William Coker said, he would answer no otherwise than he had already; and being offered a respite of six days more, he refused it; upon which sentence of condemnation was read against him on the 11th of July. William Hoper seemed at first to admit the faith and determination of the Roman church, but calling himself better to mind, constantly adhered to the truth, and was condemned on the 16th of July. Henry Laurence was examined on the same day, and answered to the articles objected against him; first denying auricular confession, and that he neither had, nor would receive the sacrament, because the order of the holy scripture was changed. So resolute was he, that he was also charged for not putting off his cap, when the suffragan made mention of the sacrament, and for not doing reverence to the same. After considerable effort made with him he was required to subscribe his answers, and wrote under their examinations--"You are all of antichrist, and him you fol--." Here he was stopped from writing any further. Being found constant, sentence was given against him on the 2nd of August.
Richard Collier, of Ashford, was examined on the 16th of August. He answered, that he did not believe, that after the consecration there was the real and substantial body of Christ, but only bread and wine, and that it is most abominable, most detestable, and most wicked to believe otherwise. Upon this, sentence was read against him, and he was condemned on the same day. After his condemnation he sung a psalm. Wherefore the priests and their officers railed at him, saying he was out of his wits. Richard Wright was then required of the judge to declare what he believed of the real presence in the sacrament, and answered, that as touching the sacrament of the altar and the mass, he was ashamed to speak of it Warne, and Joan Lashford, or to name it, and that he allowed it not, as it was used in the church. On which sentence was accordingly read to him. William Stere, also of the parish of Ashford, was brought up on the same day. And as touching the sacrament of the altar, he found it not, he said, in the scripture, and, therefore, would not answer thereunto. When the judge commanded him to be uncovered, while speaking of the sacrament of the altar, William told him, that he needed not to reverence that matter so highly. Then sentence was pronounced against him; and after it was read, he said, that the sacrament of the altar was the most blasphemous idol that ever was. These six martyrs and witnesses of the truth, being condemned by the bloody suffragan of Dover, and equally cruel archdeacon of Canterbury, were burnt all together in that city, at three stakes in one fire, about the latter end of August.
The London prisons beginning now to be overstocked with the persecuted christians, and numbers continually coming in, the council and commissioners, thinking to make quick dispatch, sent ten martyrs, named in the following letter, to bonner, by him to be examined and disposed of. The letter is a sample of the coolness with which these abettors of cruelty prepared to sacrifice some of the most upright men of the nation, and some also of its most amiable and benevolent women, at the shrine of a base superstition. "After our hearty commendations to your good lordship, we send you here John Wade, William Hale, George King, Thomas Leyes, Thomas Fust, Robert Smith, Stephen Harwood, George Tankerfield, Elizabeth , sacramentaries; all which we desire your lordship to examine, and to order according to the ecclesiastical laws: praying your lordship to appoint some of your officers to receive them at this bearer's hands. And thus most heartily fare your lordship well. From London this 2nd of July. Your lordship's loving friends." Signed by four commissioners.
We shall now proceed briefly to relate the particulars of these worthies, who lived and died in a good confession. We begin with the first of the women, Elizabeth Warne. She was the widow of John Warne, upholsterer, and martyr, who was burnt the latter end of the May before, as has been recorded in his story, in connection with Mr. Cardmaker and others. she had been apprehended amongst others the first of January, in a house in Bow-churchyard, in London, as they were gathered together in prayer, and was carried to the Computer, where she remained till the 11th day of June; when she was brought to Newgate, and confined there till the 2nd of July. Then was she sent by the queen's commissioners to Bonner, bishop of London, who, on the 6th of the same month, caused her , with Robert Smith, George Tankerfield, and others, to be brought before him into his palace, and there examine upon sundry articles, such as were commonly administered to the martyrs of that day. In addition to the chief objection made against her, respecting the corporeal presence of the body and blood of Christ in the sacrament of the altar, as the chief ground and most profitable foundation for their catholic dignity, many other matters he objected against her and her fellow-prisoners, as for not coming to the church, for speaking against the mass, despising their ceremonies,&c.
In the end, when she had been several times brought before him and his adherents, and by them earnestly exhorted to recant, she said--"Do what you will; for if Christ were in an error, then am I in one." Upon which she was condemned as a erratic, on the 12th of the same month, and delivered to the secular power, to be put to death, which took place at Stratford le Bow on the following month. It is painful to think that the chief procurer of her death was Dr. Storey, who was somewhat related to her, or else to her late husband. He, at her first apprehension, endeavoured by all means to get her pardon, and accordingly applied to Dr. Martin, one of the commissioners in matters of religion, himself not being then one, and by his suit obtained her deliverance for that present; yet afterwards, upon what occasion God only knoweth, except upon some burning charity, Storey becoming one of the commissioners, caused not only John Warne, but also his wife, and afterwards his daughter, to be again apprehended, never leaving them till he had brought them all to ashes.
George Tankerfield, of London, born in York, about the age of twenty-seven years, had been, in the days of king Edward, a papist, till the time queen Mary came in; and then perceiving the great cruelty which the papists used, he was brought into a doubt of their doctrines, and began in his heart to abhor them. Concerning the mass, whereof he had but a doubtful opinion before, and much striving with himself in that case, he a length fell to prayer, desiring God in mercy to open to him the truth, that he might be thoroughly persuaded therein, whether it were of God or not; if not, that he might utterly hate it in his heart. The Lord mercifully heard his prayer, daily working more and more in him to detest his former errors. He was then moved to read the Testament, whereby the Lord enlightened his mind with the knowledge of the truth, working a lively faith in him to believe the same, and utterly to detest all popery, and at lengths he came no more to their doings. Moreover, the truth kindled such a flame in him, as would not be kept in, but uttered itself by the confession thereof, reproving his former ways to his friends, exhorting them likewise to repent and turn to the truth with him, till they at length discovered him.
It pleased God to strike him with sickness, whereby he lay long confined; and on a certain day, to take the air abroad, he rose and walked into the Temple fields to see the shooters. In the mean time Mr. Beard, yeoman of the guard, came to his house and enquired for him, pretending to his wife, that he came only to have him dress a banquet at lord Paget's. His wife, because of his apparel, which was very rich, took him to be some great friend, and with all speed prepared herself to fetch her husband; and lest this gentleman should be tired with tarrying, she fetched him a cushion to sit on, and laid a fair napkin before him, and set bread thereon, and came to her husband; who, when he heard it, said---"a banquet, woman! indeed it is much a banquet as will not be very pleasant to the flesh; but God's will be done." When he came home he saw who it was, and called him by his name, which when his wife perceived, and wherefore he came, she seized a spit and would have run him through, had not the constable which Mr. Beard had sent for by his man, come in and rescued him: yet she sent a brickbat after him, and hit him on the back. And so Tankerfield was delivered to the constable, and brought to Newgate about the last day of February, 1555.
Being thus brought out prison by his adversaries, at length, with the others before named, he was brought to his examination before bishop Bonner, who, after his accustomed manner, ordered his articles and positions to be objected against him. To these he answered again, constantly declaring his mind concerning auricular confession, the sacrament of the popish altar, and the mass. He avowed that he had not confessed to any priest for five years past, nor to any, but only to God; and further declared that he would not hereafter be confessed by any priest, for that he found it not in Christ's book. Then , as it regardeth the sacrament, commonly called the sacrament of the altar, he confessed that he neither had nor did believe, that in the sacrament there was the real body and blood of Christ, because the body was ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of God the Father. To these things he added his belief that the mass now used in the church of England was full of idolatry and abomination, and against the word of God; affirming also, that there were but two sacraments in the church of Christ, baptism and the supper of the Lord. To these assertions he said he would stand which he did to the end.
When at last the bishop began to read the sentence, first exhorting him, with many words, to revoke his heretical opinion, he resisted all their persuasions. "I will not, said he, "forsake mine opinion, except you, my lord, can refute them by scriptures; and I care not for your divinity; for you condemn all men, and prove nothing against them." And after many word of exhortation, which Bonner then used, to convert, or rather pervert him, he answered boldly---That the church, whereof the pope is supreme head, is no part of Christ's catholic church; and adding thereunto, pointing to the bishops, and speaking to the people, saying, "Good people, beware of them, and such as them, for these be the people that deceive you, and lead you astray like silly sheep." Then the bishop read the sentence of condemnation, and gave him to the secular power, who conducted him to St. Alban's, where he ended his life with much patience and constancy on the 26th of August, for the defence of the truth.
The reader will be interested with some particulars of this good man's last days, derived form authentic sources of information. He was brought to St. Alban's by the high sheriff of Hertfordshire, Edward Brochet, esq. and Mr. Pulter, of Hitchen, who was under-sheriff. They put up at the Cross-keys inn, where there was a great concourse of people to see and hear the prisoner; some were sorry to find so pious a man brought to be burned; others praised God for his constancy and perseverance in the truth. Contrariwise, some said, it was pity he did stand in such opinions: and others, both old men and women, cried against him; one called him heretic, and said it was not fit that he lived. But Tankerfield spake unto them so effectually out of the word of God, lamenting their ignorance, and protesting unto them his unspotted conscience, that God did mollify their hardened hearts, insomuch that some of them who had doubted him, departed out of the chamber weeping.
There came a certain school-master to have communication with him, the day before he was coming to St. Alban's, concerning the sacrament of the altar, and other points of the popish religion: But as he urged Tankerfield with the authority of the doctors, wresting them after his own will; so on the other said, Tankefield answered him mightily by the scriptures, not wrested fate the mind of any man, but being interpreted after the will of the Lord Jesus. As he would not allow such allegations a Tankerfield brought out of the scriptures without the opinions of the doctors; so again Tankerfield would not credit his doctrine to be true, except he would confirm it by the scriptures. I the end, Tankerfield prayed him that he would not trouble him in such matters, for his conscience was established. He, therefore, departed from him wishing him well, and protesting that he meant him no more hurt than his own soul.
When the hour drew on that he should suffer, he desired the wine drawer that he might have a pint of malmsey and a loaf, that he might eat and drink in remembrance of Christ's death and passion, because he could not have it administered to him by others in such manner as Christ demanded: and then he kneeled down, making his confession unto the Lord with all which were in the chamber with him; and after he had prayed earnestly, and had read the institution of the holy supper by the Lord Jesus out of the evangelists, and out of St. Paul, he said---"O Lord, thou knowest it, I do not this to derogate authority from any man, or in contempt of those which are thy ministers, but only because I cannot have it administered according to thy word." When he had spoke these and such like words, he received it with giving of thanks. Then he was entreated to strengthen him by taking some meat; but he said he would not eat that which should do others good that had more need, and that had longer to live than he had.
He prayed his host to let him have a good fire in the chamber, which was granted him; and then sitting on a form before it, he put off his shoes and hose , and stretched out his leg to flame; and when it had touched his foot he quickly withdrew his leg, shewing the flesh did persuade him one way, and the spirit another. The flesh said, "O thou fool, wilt thou burn, and needest not?" The spirit said, "Be not afraid, for this is nothing in respect of fire eternal." The flesh said, "Do not leave the company of thy friends and acquaintance which love thee, and will let thee lack nothing." The spirit said, "The company of Jesus Christ and his glorious presence doth exceed all earthly friends." The flesh said, "Do not shorten thy time, for thou mayest live if thou wilt much longer." The spirit said, "This life is nothing unto the life in heaven which lasteth for ever." And all this time the sheriffs were at a gentleman's house at dinner, not far from the town, whither also resorted many knights and gentlemen out of the country, because his son was married that day, and until they returned from dinner, the prisoner was left to the care of his host, by whom he was kingly treated; and considering that his time was short, his saying was---"Although the day be ever so long, yet at the last it ringeth to evening song."
About two o'clock, when the sheriffs returned from dinner, they brought Mr. Tankerfield out of the inn to the place where he should suffer, which was called Romeland, being a green place near the west end of the Abbey church; unto which when he was come, he kneeled down by the stake that was set up for him; and after he had ended his prayers he arose, and with a joyful faith said, that although he had a sharp dinner, yet he hoped to have a joyful supper heaven. While the fagots were set about him, there came a priest and persuaded him to believe on the sacrament of the altar, and he would be saved. But Tankerfield cried vehemently---"I defy the whore Babylon! fie on that abominable idol: good people, do not believe him." Then the mayor of the town commanded fire to be set to the heretic, and said, if he had but one load of fagots in the world, he would give them to burn him. Amidst this confusion there was a certain knight, who went unto Tankerfield, and taking him by the hand said---"Good brother, be strong in Christ." This he spake softly; and Tankerfield said, "O Sir, I thank you, I am so; I thank God." Then fire was set unto him, and he desired the sheriff and all the people to pray for him; most of them did so. And so embracing the fire, he called on the name of the Lord Jesus, and was quickly out of pain.
We are now to review the history of Mr. Robert Smith, a gentleman whose talents and character gained him the highest esteem. Mr. Smith was brought to Newgate on the 5th of November, by John Matthew, a yeoman of the guard, by the command of the council. He had formerly devoted his services to the house of Sir Thomas Smith, knight, being at the same time provost of Eton: from thence he was preferred to Windsor, having there in the college a clerkship of ten pounds a year. O stature he was tall and slender, active about many things, but chiefly delighted in the art of painting, which many times, rather for his amusement than for gain, he practised. In religion he was fervent, after he had once tasted the truth; wherein he was much confirmed by the preaching of Mr. Turner, of Windsor, and others. At the coming in of queen Mary he was deprived of his clerkship by her visitors; and not long after was apprehended, and brought to examination before Bonner. The following examinations were written with his own hand, and will be given to the reader with only such abridgment as will render them the more acceptable.
"About nine in the morning I was, among the rest of my brethren, brought to the bishop's house; and first of al I was brought before him into his chamber, where he began as followeth, after he had asked my name---How long is it since you were confessed to any priest?
Smith. Never since I had years of discretion. For I never saw it needful, neither commanded by God to shew my faults to any of that sinful number whom you call priests."
Bon. Thou shewest thyself even at thy first speech to be a rank heretic, who being weary of painting, art entered into divinity, and so fallen, through thy departing from thy vocation, into heresy.
Smith. Although I understand painting, yet, I praise God, I have had little need hitherto to live by it.
Bon. How long is it since you received the sacrament of the altar, and what is your opinion of the same?
Smith. I never received it since I had years of discretion, nor ever will, by God's grace; neither do I esteem it in any point, because it hath not God's ordinance, but rather is set up to mock him withal.
Bon. Do you not believe that the sacrament is the very body of Christ naturally, substantially, and really, after the words of consecration?
Smith. I showed you before it was none of God's ordinances, as you use it; then much less to be God, or any part of his substance; but only bread and wine erected to the use aforesaid: yet, nevertheless, if you can prove it to be the body that you spake of by the word, I will believe it; if not, I will do as I do, account it a detestable idol.
Bon. Then there is no remedy, but you must be burned.
Smith. You shall do no more unto me than you have done to better men than either of us. But think not thereby to quench the spirit of God, neither to make your matter good. For your wound is too well seen to be healed so privily with blood. For even the very children have all your deeds in derision; so that though you patch up one place with authority, ye shall it break out in forty to your shame.
Bon. Well, even now, by my troth, even in good earnest, if thou wilt go to confession I will tear this paper of your examination in pieces.
Smith. It would be too much to your shame to shew it to men of discretion.
"After this answer, I was carried down to the garden with my jailer, and there remained till my brother Harwood was examined; then being again brought up before Bonner, he demanded if I agreed with Harwood in his confession."
Bon. What say you to the catholic church? Do you not confess there is one on earth?
Smith. Yes, verily, I believe that there is one catholic church, or faithful congregation, which is built upon the prophets and apostles, Christ Jesus being the head corner stone: which church, in all her words and works maintaineth the word, and bringeth the same for her authority. Of this I hope I am by grace made a member.
Bon. You shall understand, that I am bound when my brother offendeth, and will not be reconciled, to bring him before the congregation: now if your church be the same, where may a man find it, to bring his brother before it?
Smith. It is written in the Acts of the Apostles, that when the tyranny of the bishops was so great against the church in Jewry, they were fain to assemble in houses and secret places, as they do now: and yet were they nevertheless the church of God: and seeing they had their matters redressed being shut up in a corner, may not we do the like now?
Bon. Yea, their church was known full well. For St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, to have the man punished and excommunicated that had committed evil with his father's wife. Whereby we may well perceive it was a known church; but yours is not known.
Smith. Then could you not persecute it as you do: but as you say the church of God at Corinth was manifest both to God and St. Paul; even so is this church of God in England, which you persecute, both known to God, and also even to the very wicked, although they know not, nor will know their truth nor conversation; yea, and your sinful number have professed their verity, and maintained the same a long season.
Bon. Well, thou sayest that the church of God was only at Corinth, when St. Paul wrote unto them; and so will I put in writing, with your permission. Smith. I greatly marvel, my lord, that you are not ashamed to lay snares for your brethren in this manner. This is now the third snare you have laid for me. First, to make me confess that the church of England is not the church of Christ. Secondly, to say it is not known. Thirdly, to say the church of God is not universal, but particular. This is not the office of a bishop, for had an innocent come in your way you would have done your best, I see, to have entangled him.
Bon. You are no innocent, as it appeareth. Tell us, how sayest thou of the church?
Smith. I told you whereon the true church is built, and I affirm it not only in England to be the congregation of God, but also in omnem terram: as it is written, "Their sound is gone forth into all lands:" and this is the afflicted and persecuted church, which ye cease not to imprison, and kill. In Corinth was not all the congregation of God, but a select number of those holy people. For neither Paul nor Peter were present at Corinth when they wrote, and yet were they of the church of God, as many thousands more which also communicate in that Holy Spirit.
A certain doctor, the same probably who had questioned Mr. Newman, now took up the argument with Mr. Smith, politely asking to have some communing, and desiring first to know if he were a prisoner.
Smith. I am in this flesh a prisoner, and subject to my master and yours; but I hope yet the Lord's free man through Christ Jesus.
Doctor. I do much desire to talk to you lovingly, because you are a man I much lament. You say in derision or in despite, Sub melle latest venenum: but let me ask you, What derogation was it to Christ, when the Jews spat in his face?
Smith. If the Jews, being his enemies, did spit in his face, and we being his friends throw him into the drought, which of us have deserved the greatest damnation? But by your argument, he that doth injury to Christ shall have a most plenteous salvation.
"Then started the doctor away, and would have his humanity incomprehensible--making a comparison between our soul and the body of Christ: bringing in to serve his turn, which way came Christ in among his disciples, the doors being shut?
Smith. Although it be said, that when he came the doors were shut, yet have I as much to prove, that the doors opened at his coming as you have to prove he came through the door. For that Almighty God who brought the disciples out of prison, which yet when search was made was found shut, was able to let Christ in at the door. although it were shut: and yet it maketh not for your purpose; for they saw him, heard him, and felt him; that you cannot say you do, neither is he in more places than one at the same time.
"At this answer they made many scoffings, and we were carried into my lord's hall, where we were baited by the band of servants almost all the day, until our keeper seeing their rudeness shut us all up in a handsome chamber, while my lord went into his synagogue to condemn Mr. Denley and Mr. Newman. Then they brought my lord mayor up into the chamber where my lord intended to sup, to hear the matter; and I was the first that was called; where my lord mayor being set with the bishop and one of the sheriffs, wine was flowing on every side, whilst I stood before them like a mute; which made me remember how Pilate and Herod were made friends, and how no man was sorry for Joseph's hurt. But after my lord had well drunk, my articles were sent for and read, and he demanded whether I did say as was written?
Smith. That which I have said, I have said; and what I have said I mean.
Bon. Well, my lord mayor, your lordship hath heard, in some measure what a stout heretic this is, and that his articles have deserved death; nevertheless forasmuch as they report me to seek blood, and call me bloody Bonner, whereas, God knoweth, I never sought any man's blood in all my life, I have kept him from the consistory this day, whither I could have brought him justly. I desire him to turn, and I will, with all speed, dispatch him out of his trouble; and this I profess before your lordship and all this audience.
Smith. Why, my lord, do you put on this fair vizor before my lord mayor, to make him believe that you seek not my blood, to cloak you murders, through my stoutness, as you call it? Have you not had my brother Tomkind before you, whose hand when you burned most cruelly you burned also his body; and not only him, but a great many of the members of Christ, men that lived virtuously, and also the queen's most true subjects, as their goods and bodies have made manifest? And seeing in these saints you have shewed so little mercy, shall it seem to my lord and his audience that you shew me more? No, no, my lord. But if you mean as you say, why then do you examine me of what I am not bound to answer you?
Bon. Well, what sayest thou by the sacrament of the altar? Is it not the very body of Christ, flesh, blood, and bone, as it was born of the Virgin?
Smith. I have answered, that it is none of God's order, nor a sacrament, but man's own invention.
Then he proved before the audience that it was a dead god, declaring the distinction appointed between two creatures of bread and wine, and that a body without blood hath no life; at which Harpsfield was much offended, and said, "I will approve by the Scriptures that ye blaspheme God in so saying: for it is given in two parts, because there are two things shown, that is to say, his body and his passion, as saith St. Paul; and, therefore, is the bread his body, and the wine the representation of his death and blood-shedding."
Smith. You falsify the word, and rack it to serve your purpose. For the wine was not only the shewing of his passion, but the bread also. For our Saviour saith, "So often as you do this, do it in remembrance of me." And St. Paul saith, "So oft as you eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, you shall show the Lord's death till he come." And here is s much reverence given to the one as to the other. Wherefore, if the bread be his body, the cup must be his blood, and you may as well make his body in the cup, as his blood in the bread.
"Then my lord rose up and went to the table, where the lord mayor desired me to save my soul. I answered, I hoped it was saved through Christ Jesus; desiring him to have pity on his own soul, and remember whose sword he carried, and how much influence he had on others. I was then carried into the garden, and there abode till the rest of my friends were examined, and then were we sent away to Newgate with many foul farewells, my lord giving the keeper a charge to lay me in limbo. This was done for two or three days, and on Saturday, at eight o'clock, I was brought to his chamber again, and there examined by the bishop.
Bon. Thou, Robert Smith, sayest that there is no catholic church here on earth.
Smith. You have heard me both speak the contrary,and you have writing as a witness of the same. Must you of necessity begin with a lie? It maketh manifest that you determine to end with the same. But there shall no liars enter into the kingdom of God. Nevertheless, if you will be answered, ask mine articles tat were written yesterday, and they shall tell you that I have confessed a church of God, as well in earth as in heaven and yet all one church, and all members of Christ Jesus.
Bon. Well, what sayest thou to the auricular confession? Is it not necessary to be used in Christ's church? and wilt thou not be confessed by the priest?
Smith. It is not needful to be used in Christ's church, as I answered yesterday. But if it be needful for your church, it is to pick men's pockets; and such pick-pocket matter is all the whole rabble of your ceremonies: for all that you maintain is but a money affair.
Bon. Why, how art thou able to prove that confession is a pickpocket matter? Art thou not ashamed to say so?
Smith. I speak by experience: for I have both heard and seen the fruits of the same. For first it hath been a betrayer of king's secrets, and the secrets of other men's consciences; who being delivered, and glad to be discharged from their sins, have given great sums of money to priests to absolve them, and sing masses for their souls.
Bon. Ah, you are a generation of liars! there is not one true word that cometh out of your mouths.
Smith. Yes, my lord, I have said that Jesus Christ has died for my sins, and risen for my justification, and this is no lie.
Bon. How sayest thou, Smith, to the seven sacraments? Believest thou not that they be of God's order, that is to say, the sacraments of his institution and of his church?
Smith. I believe that in God's church are but two sacraments, that is to say, the sacrament of regeneration, and the sacrament of the Lord's supper: and as for the sacrament of the altar, and all your other sacraments, they may well serve your church; but God's church hath nothing to do with them, neither have I any thing to do to answer them, nor you to examine me of them.
Bon. Why, is God's order changed in baptism? In what point do we dissent from the word of God?
Smith. First, in hallowing your water; in conjuring of the same; in baptising of children with anointing and spitting in their mouths, mingled with salt; and with many other lewd ceremonies, of which not one point is able to be proved in God's order.
Bon. By the mass, this is the most unshame-faced heretic that ever I heard speak.
Smith. Well sworn, my lord; you keep a good watch.
Bon. Well, Mr. Comptroller, you catch me at my words: but I will watch thee as well, I warrant.
Smith. It is a shameful blasphemy against Christ, so to use any mingle-mangle in baptising your infants.
Bon. I believe, I tell thee, that if they die before they be baptised, they be damned.
Smith. You shall never be saved by that belief. But I pray you, my lord, shew me, are we saved by water, or by Christ?
Bon. By both.
Smith. Then the water died for our sins: and so must ye say, that the water hath life; and it being our servant, and created for us, is our Saviour. This, my lord, is a good doctrine, is it not?
Bon. Why, how understandeth thou the scriptures? "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." And how readest thou again Christ's words--"Suffer these children to come unto me?" and if thou wilt not suffer them to be baptised after the laudable order, thou hinderest them to come unto Christ.
Smith. When you allege St. John--"Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," and will thereby prove the water to save, and so the deed or work to save and put away sins; I will send you to St. Paul, who asketh of the Galatians, "Whether they received the Spirit by the deeds of the law, or by the preaching of faith?" and there concludeth, that the Holy Ghost accompanieth the preaching of faith, and with the word of faith entereth into the heart. So now, if baptism reach unto me the washing in Christ's blood, so doth the Holy Ghost accompany it, and it is unto me as a preacher and not a Saviour. And whereas ye say, I hinder the children to come unto Christ, it is manifest by our Saviour's words that you hinder them to come that will not suffer them to come unto him without the necessity of water. For he saith "Suffer them to come unto me," and not unto the water; and therefore if you condemn them, you condemn both the merits and words of Christ. For our Saviour saith, "Except ye turn and become as children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of God."
Bon. Well, sir, what say you to the sacrament of orders?
Smith. You may call it the sacrament of disorders; for all orders are appointed of God. But as for your shaving, anointing, greasing, polling, and rounding, there are no such things appointed in God's book. and therefore I have nothing to do to believe your orders. And as for you, if you had grace and intelligence, you would not so disfigure yourself as you do.
Bon. Sayest thou so? Now, by my troth, I will go shave myself to anger thee withal.
That Bonner should have had the folly to put his ridiculous threat into execution, and that at the moment and upon the spot, is almost past belief even of that strange man. Yet Mr. Smith's narrative of the affair goes on to say that "he sent for his barber, who immediately came: and before my face at the door of the next chamber, he shaved himself, desiring me before he went, to answer to these articles."
Bon. What say you to holy bread and holy water, to the sacrament of anointing, and to all the rest of such ceremonies of the church?
Smith. I say they be baubles for fools to play withal, and not for the children of God to exercise themselves in, and therefore they may go among the refuse.
"My lord then left me with certain doctors, of whom I asked this question."
Smith. Where were you all the days of king Edward, that you spake not that which you speak now?
Doct. We were in England.
Smith. Yea, but then ye had the faces of men; but now ye have put on lions' faces again, as saith St. John. Ye show yourselves as full of malice as ye may be; for ye have for every time a vizor; yea, and if another king Edward should arise, ye would then say, "Down with the pope, for he is antichrist, and so are all his angels."
"Then was I reviled, and so sent away, and brought in again before these men; when one of them asked me if I disallowed confession? I answered, 'Look in mine articles, and they shall show you what I allow.'"
Doct. You articles confess that you allow not auricular confession.
Smith. Because the word alloweth it not, nor commandeth it.
Doct. Why, it is written, thou shalt not hide thy sins and offences.
Smith. No more do I when I confess them to Almighty God.
Doct. Why, you cannot say that you can hide them from God, and therefore you must understand the words are spoken to be uttered to them that do not know them.
Smith. Yo have made a good answer: then the priest must confess himself to me, as well as I to him; for I know his faults and secrets no more than he knoweth mine. But if you confess to the priest and not unto God, you shall have the reward that Judas had; for he confessed himself to the priest, and presently went and hanged himself; and so many as do not acknowledge their faults to God are said to hide them.
Doct. What did they that came to John to be baptised?
Smith. They came and confessed their sins to Almighty God.
Doct. And not unto John?
Smith. If it were unto John, as you are not able to prove, yet it was to God, before John and the whole congregation.
Doct. Why, John was alone in the wilderness.
Smith. Indeed! and yet the scriptures say he had many disciples, and that many pharisees and sadducees came to his baptism! Here the scriptures and you agree not. If they confessed themselves to John, as you say, it was to all the congregation, as St. Paul doth to Timothy, and to all that read his epistles, in opening to all the hearers, that he was not worthy to be called an apostle, because he had been a tyrant. But as for ear-confession, you never knew it allowed by the word. The prophet David made his confession unto God, and saith--"I will confess my sins unto the Lord." Daniel maketh his confession unto the Lord. Judith, Toby, Jeremy, Manasseh, with all the fathers, did even so. And the Lord hath said--"Call upon me in the time of trouble, and I will deliver thee." This is the word of God; now bring somewhat of the word to help yourself withal. You call me a dog! Nay, you are dogs, that because holy things are offered, will slay your friends. For I may say with St. Paul, "I have fought with beasts," in the likeness of men.
Bonner now returned to the assault, boasting of having been shaved; and exclaiming as he entered--"How standeth it, doctors, have you done any good?"
Doct. No, my lord, we can do no good to such an evil man.
Smith. Then it is fulfilled which is written, "How can an evil tree bring forth good fruit?"
Bon. Well, wilt thou neither hear them nor me?
Smith. Yes, I am compelled to hear you; but you cannot compel me to follow you.
Bon. Well, thou shalt be burnt at a stake in Smithfield, if thou wilt not turn.
Smith. And you shall burn in hell, if you repent not: but, my lord, to put you out of doubt, because I am weary, I will strain courtesy with you: I perceive you will not with your doctors come unto me, and I am determined not to come unto you by God's grace. For I have hardened my face against you as brass.
Mr. Smith was now dismissed for some days. "On the 12th of July I was with my brethren brought into the consistory, and mine articles read before the lord mayor and sheriffs, with all the assistants: to which I answered as I had done before. Then my lord proceeded with the rest of my articles, demanding of me if I said not as was written. To which I answered--'No!' And turning to my lord mayor, I said--'I require you, my lord, in God's behalf, unto whom pertaineth your sword and justice, that I may here before your presence answer to these objections that are laid against me, and have probation of the same; and if any thing that I have said, or will say, be proved heresy, I shall not only with all my heart forsake the same, and cleave to the truth, but also recant wheresoever you shall assign me, and all this audience shall be witness to the same.'
L. Mayor. Why, Smith, thou canst not deny but this writing contains what thou saidst!
Smith. Yes, my lord, I deny that which he hath written, because he hath both added to, and diminished from the same; but what I have spoken I will never deny. I denied what you call the blessed sacrament of the altar to be any sacrament, and I do here stand to make probation of the same: but if my lord or any of his doctors be able to prove either the name or usage of the same, I will recant mine error.
Bon. By my troth, Mr. Speaker, you shall preach at a stake, or I am no saint.
Smith. No, my lord, nor yet a good bishop. For a bishop, saith St. Paul, should be faultless, and a vessel dedicated unto God; and are you not ashamed to sit in judgment and be a blasphemer, condemning innocents?
Bon. Well, Mr. Comptroller, you are faultless.
Smith. My lord mayor, I require you in God's name, that I may have justice. We be here to-day a great many innocents wrongfully accused of heresy. And I require yo, if you will not seem to be partial, let me have the favour at your hands that the apostle had at the hands of Festus and Agrippa, who being heathens and infidels, give him leave to speak for him, and also heard the probation of his cause. This require I at your hands, who being a christian judge I hope will not deny me that right, which the heathen have suffered: if you do, then shall all this audience, yea, and the heathen, speak shame of your act. For all that do well come to the light, and they that do evil hate the light.
"At this the lord mayor hanging down his head, said nothing; but the bishop told me, I should preach at the stake, and the sheriff cried with the bishop for the officers to take me away. I had now been before them four times, desiring justice, but could have none: at length my friends required the same with one voice, but could not have it; so we had sentence; and then being carried out, were brought in again, and received it separately. But before the bishop have be sentence, he told me in derision of my brother Tankerfield, a tale between a gentleman and his cook. To this I answered, 'My lord, you fill the people's ears with fantasies and foolish tales, and make a laughing matter at blood; but if you were a true bishop, you should leave these railing sentences, and speak the words of God.'"
Bon. Well, I have offered to that naughty fellow, Mr. Speaker, your companion the cook, that my chancellor should here instruct him, but he hath with great disdain refused it. How sayest thou, wilt thou have him instruct thee, and lead thee into the right way?
Smith. My lord, if your chancellor will do me any good, and take any pains, as you say, let him take mine articles in his hands, that you have objected against me, and either prove one of them heresy, or any thing that you do to be good: and if he be able so to do, I stand here with all my heart to hear him; if not, I have no need, I praise God, of his sermon: for I came to answer for my life, and not to hear a sermon.
Then began the sentence, "In the name of God." To which I answered, that he began in a wrong name, requiring of him, where he learned in scripture to give sentence of death against any man for his conscience sake. To which he made no answer, but went forward to the end, and immediately cried--"Away with him!" Then I turned to the mayor, and said--"Is it not enough for you, my lord mayor, and you that are the sheriffs, that you have left the straight way of the Lord, but you must condemn Christ causeless?"
Bon. Well, Mr. Comptroller, now you cannot say but I have offered you fair, to have instruction. And now, I pray thee, call me bloody bishop, and say, I seek thy blood.
Smith. Well, my lord, if neither I nor any of this congregation do report the truth of your fact, yet shall these stones cry it out rather than it shall be hidden.
Bon. Away with him, away with him!
I then turned to my fellow-sufferers and said--"Well, good friends, you have seen and heard the great wrong that we have received this day, and you are all witnesses that we have desired the probation of our cause by God's book, and it hath not been granted: but we are condemned, and our cause not heard. Nevertheless, my lord mayor, forasmuch as you have here exercised God's sword causeless, and will not hear the right of the poor, I commit my cause to Almighty God, who will judge all men according to right, before whom we shall both stand without authority; and there will I stand in the right, and have judgment, to your great confusion, except you repent, which the Lord grant you to do, if it be his will." And then was I with the rest of my brethren carried to Newgate.
Thus was this steady martyr condemned on the 12th of July. While he remained in prison, between the periods of his sentence and his death, he was very active in exhorting and encouraging his fellow martyrs, and teaching the way of life to those who were confined for criminal offences, many of whom he converted to the truth. He terminated his triumphant career at Uxbridge, on the 8th of August, rejoicing in the cross even in the midst of the flames. While in prison, he wrote several letters to his friends, some of which were in verse, a proof, that he could not be under any impression of fear at his approaching death. His verses discover more of the genius of piety than poetry. Considering the backward state and the paucity of English poetry in the age in which he lived, his verse, at the same time, displays an ease and prettiness by no means unworthy of perusal. But that the reader may judge for himself, we insert the following specimen, addressed to his children. A longer poem, on religious subjects generally, precedes this in some former editions; but the domestic one here inserted will be more acceptable both for its brevity, and the touching nature of the theme.
Whom God hath dearly bought:
Lay up my law within your heart,
And print it in your thought.
For I your father have foreseen
The frail and filthy way
Which flesh and blood would follow fain,
E'en to their own decay.
For all and every living beast
Their crib do know full well;
But Adam's heirs, above the rest,
Are ready to rebel:
And all the creatures on the earth
Full well can keep their way:
But man, above all other beasts,
Is apt to go astray.
For earth and ashes is his strength,
His glory and his reign;
And unto ashes at the length,
Shall he return again.
For flesh doth flourish like a flower,
And grow up like the grass,
And is consumed in an hour,
As it is brought to pass.
In me the image of your years,
You treasure and your trust:
Whom ye do see before your face,
Dissolved into dust.
For as you see your father's flesh
Converted into clay: Even so shall ye, my children dear,
Consume and wear away.
The sun and moon, and all the stars,
That serve the day and night;
The earth and ev'ry earthly thing,
Shall be consumed quite.
And all the worship that is wrought,
That have been heard or seen,
Shall clean consume and come to naught,
As it had never been.
Therefore that ye may follow me,
Your father and your friend,
And enter into that same life,
Which never shall have end:--
I leave you here a little book,
For you to look upon:
That you may see your father's face
When I am dead and gone.
Who for the hop of heavenly things,
While he did here remain,
Gave over all his golden years
In prison and in pain.
Where I among mine iron bands,
Inclosed in the dark,
Not many days before my death
Did dedicate this work,
To you mine heirs of earthly things,
Which I have left behind,
That ye may read and understand,
And keep it in your mind;
That s you have been heirs of that,
Which once shall wear away;
Even so ye may possess the part
Which never shall decay.
In following of your father's foot,
In truth and also love:
That ye may likewise be his heirs
For evermore above.
And in example to your youth,
To whom I wish all good,
I preach you here a perfect faith,
And seal it with my blood.
Have God always before your eyes,
In all your whole intents:
Commit not sin in any wise,
Keep his commandments.
Abhor that arrant whore of Rome,
And all her blasphemies;
And drink not of her decretals,
Nor yet of her decrees.
Give honour to your mother dear,
Remember well her pain:
And recompense her in her age,
In like with love again.
Be always aiding at her hand,
And let her not decay:
Remember well your father's fall,
That should have been her stay.
Give of your portion to the poor,
As riches do arise:
And from the needy naked soul,
Turn not away your eyes.
For he that will not hear the cry
Of such as are in need,
Shall cry himself and not be heard,
When he would hop to speed.
If God have given you great increase,
And blessed well your store:
Remember ye are put in trust,
To minister the more.
Beware of foul and filthy lust,
Let whoredom have no place:
Keep clean your vessels in the Lord,
That he may you embrace.
Ye are the temples of the Lord,
For ye are dearly bought:
And they that do defile the same,
Shall surely come to nought.
Possess not pride in any case,
Build not your nests too high:
But have always before your face,
That ye were born to die.
Defraud not him that hired is,
Your labours to sustain;
But give him always out of hand,
His penny for his pain.
And as ye would that other men,
Against you should proceed;
Do ye the same again to them
When they do stand in need.
And put your portion with the poor,
In money and in mean:
And feed the fainted feeble soul,
With that which ye should eat.
That when your body lacketh meat,
And clothing to your back,
Ye may the better think on them
That now do live and lack.
Ask counsel also at the wise;
Give ear unto the end:
Refuse not you the sweet rebuke
Of him that is your friend.
Be thankful always to the Lord,
With prayer and with praise:
Desire you him in all your deeds,
For to direct your ways:
And sin not like that swinish sort.
Whose bellies being fed--
Consume their years upon the earth
From belly unto bed.
Seek first, I say, the living God;
Set him always before;
And then be sure that he will bless
You basket and your store.
And thus if you direct your days
According to this book,
Then shall they say that see your ways,
How like me ye do look.
And when you have so perfectly,
Upon your fingers' ends,
Possessed all within your book,
Then give it to your friends.
And I beseech the living God,
Replenish you with grace,
That I may have you in the heav'ns.
And see you face to face.
And though the sword have cut me off,
Contrary to my kind,
That I could not enjoy your love,
According to my mind.
Yet I do hope when that the heav'ns
Shall vanish like a scroll,
I shall receive your perfect shape,
In body and in soul.
And that I may enjoy your love.
And you enjoy the land,
I do beseech the living God
To hold you in his hand.
Farewell, my children, from the world,
My children and my friends;
I hope to God to have you all,
When all things have their ends.
And if you do abide in God,
As you have now begun;
You course I warrant will be short,
Ye have not far to run.
God grant you so to end your years
As he shall think it best;
That ye may enter into heav'n,
Where I do hope to rest.
A third letter in prose, addressed to his brother, on the education of his daughter, appears in some editions; and a fourth--"to all who unfeignedly love God"--appears in others. From the latter an extract will interest our readers. After reviewing the principal truths for which he and other martyrs were called to lay down their lives, he says--
"These doctrines have all the blessed martyrs of Christ's church witnessed with their blood to be true. To this truth have the consciences of all true believers subscribed ever since the ascension of Christ. This witness is not of man, but of God. What better can ye give your lives for than the truth. He who does this takes the readiest way to life eternal. He that hath the pope's curse for the truth, is sure of Christ's blessing. Well then, my brethren, what shall now hinder your going forward as ye have begun? Holy on the right way--look not back--have the eye of your soul fixed upon Christ--and follow him whithersoever he is pleased to lead you. Away with the thorns that choke the heavenly seed of the gospel. Do not those gain who find heavenly and immortal treasure for earthly and corruptible riches? Loseth that man any thing who is forsaken of all the world, when he is received to be the heir of God, and joint heir with Christ? Heavenly for earthly--immortal for mortal--permanent for transitory--is infinite gain for a christian conscience."
Two martyrs named Harwood and Fust suffered about the same time as their brethren, Smith and Tankerfield, in whose company they were condemned by bishop Bonner. As the proceedings against them were so much alike, it would be superfluous to repeat the particulars. Harwood was burnt at Stratford, and Fust at Ware. It is worth observing of Mr. Fust, that on his last examination, when Bonner was persuading him to recant, he answered with great boldness--"No, my lord, for no truth cometh out of your mouth, but all lies: you condemn men, and will not hear the truth."
An equally remarkable example of intrepid fidelity, in his behaviour before the same cruel judge, was one William Hale, who was sent to bishop Bonner by Sir Nicholas Hare and other commissioners. He belonged to Throp, in the county of Essex. When Boner pronounced his sentence, the fearless man looked around on the assembly and said--"Ah, good people, beware of this idolater, and this antichrist," pointing to the bishop. He was then delivered to the sheriffs to be burnt as a heretic, who sent him to Barnet, where about the latter end of August he most constantly sealed the faith with his death.
Three others were devoted to death at the same time; but a fatal sickness while in prison deprived them of the honour of a public martyrdom. The names of these martyrs were George King, Thomas Leyes, and John Wade. Their close confinement, and the hardships to which they were subjected, in Lollard's tower, made them the prey of lingering and loathsome disease; which, however, they bore with signal patience till death, nearly at the same time, put a period to their sufferings and degradation; but not to their enemies' malice--for their bodies were cast out into the fields to be the prey of beasts, and would have been unburied but for the care of some humble and faithful brethren, who interred them under cover of a dark night.
The same charitable attention was paid by other friends to the remains of a worthy protestant mechanic of the name of William Andres, of Horsley, in the country of Essex, who was brought to Newgate the 1st day of April, 1555. His principal persecutor was the lord Rich, whose influence in the country obtained his arrest. Andrew being twice examined before bishop Bonenr, boldly stood in defence of his religion. At length, by the severe usage he met with in Newgate, he there lost his life, which otherwise would have been taken away by fire: and so after the popish manner he was cast out into a field, and by night was privately buried by the hands of good men and faithful brethren, reminding us of the impressive facet of christian history--"Devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him."
At Cobdock, near Ipswich, in the country of Suffolk, lived a justice of the peace named Foster, remarked for his zeal and hatred against the faithful, whom he took every means of persecuting. Among many whom he had troubled, was Mr. Samuel, in king Edward's days a very holy and faithful preacher of God's word, who for his constant behaviour in his sermons, seems worthy of high admiration. He was minister at Barfold, in Suffolk, where he industriously and successfully taught the flock which the Lord had committed to his charge, so long as the time would suffer him to do his duty.
At last he was removed from the ministry, and deprived of his benefice, and although he could not escape the violence of the time, yet would he not give over his care for his flock, but continued to teach them by stealth, when he could not openly do it. On the order being given by the queen, that all priests who had been married in king Edward's days, should put away their wives, and be compelled to return to a single life, Mr. Samuel would not obey, because he know it be manifestly abominable; but determining with himself, that God's laws were not to be broken for man's traditions, he still kept his wife at Ipswich, and gave his diligence in the mean time to instructing others which were about him, as occasion served. At last Mr. Foster having intelligence thereof, being very officious in those parts, spared no time nor diligence, but quickly sent his spies abroad, laying close wait for Mr. Samuel, that if he came home to his wife at any time, they might apprehend him, and carry him to prison.
In conclusion, they espied him at home with his wife, and brought word to the officer, who came to the house, and beset it with a great company, and so took him in the night, because they durst not do it in the day-time for fear of trouble and tumult, although Mr. Samuel did not withstand them at all, but meekly yielded himself into their hands. When they had thus caught him, they put him into Ipswich jail, where he patiently spent this time among his pious brethren, so long as he was permitted to continue there. However, not long after, he was carried to Norwich, where Dr. Hopton, bishop of that diocese, and Dr. Dunnings, his chancellor, exercised great cruelty against him. These men were most abhorred instruments of cruelty, exceeding all the rest of their class in tormenting the bodies of the martyrs. For although the others were sharp enough in their generation, yet would they be satisfied with imprisonment and death, and could go no farther.
The bishop therefore, or else his chancellor, thinking that he might as easily prevail with Mr. Samuel, as he had done with several before, kept him in a very close prison at his first coming, where he was chained upright to a great post, in such sort, that standing only on tip-toe, he was fain to stay up the whole poise of his body by the chain. And to his they added a far more grievous torment, keeping him without meat and drink, whereby he was unmercifully vexed through hunger and thirst; saving that he had every day allowed him two or three mouthfuls of bread, and three spoonfuls of water, to the end rather that he might be reserved to farther torment, than that they would nourish his life. O worthy constancy of the martyr! O pitiless hearts of papists, worthy to be complained of, and to be accused before God and nature! O wonderful strength of Christ in his members! Whose heart, though it had been made of adamant some, would not have relented at the intolerable vexations, and extreme pains above nature!
At last, when he was brought forth to be burned, which was but a trifle in comparison of those pains that he had passed, there were several that heard him declare what strange things had happened to him during the time of his imprisonment: namely, that after he had been famished or pined with hunger two or three days together, he then fell into a delicious slumber, at which time one clad all in white seemed to stand before him, who administered comfort unto him by these words ---"Samuel, Samuel, be of good cheer, and take a good heart unto thee; for after this day shalt thou never be either hungry or thirsty!" This came to pass accordingly, for soon after he was burned; and from his dream to his death he felt neither hunger nor thirst. And this he declared, to the end, as he said, that all men might behold the wonderful work of God! Many other matters concerning the great comfort he had of Christ in his afflictions he could utter, he said, besides this, but that modesty would not suffer him to utter it. And yet if it had pleased God, I wish he had been less modest in that behalf, that the love and care that Christ hath of his servants, might have the more appeared thereby unto us by such present arguments, for the more plentiful comfort of the godly, though there be sufficient testimonies of the same in the holy scriptures already.
No less memorable is it, and worthy also to be noted, concerning the three ladders which he said he had seen in his sleep set up towards heaven; of which there was one somewhat longer than the rest, but yet at length they became one, joining, as it were, all three together. This was a forewarning revealed unto him, declaring undoubtedly the martyrdom first of himself, and then of two honest women, who were brought forth and suffered in the same town not long after.
As Mr. Samuel was going to the stake, a certain female came to him, and kissed him, which being marked by them that were present, she was sought for the next day after to be had to prison and burned: however, as God of his goodness would have it, she escaped their fiery hands, keeping herself secret in the town a good while after. But while this female, called Rose Nottingham, was marvelously preserved by the providence of God, two other honest women did fall into the rage and fury of that time; the one was the wife of a brewer named Potten, the other of a shoemaker named Trunchfield. With these two Rose was very familiar and well acquainted, an advised one of them, that she should convey herself away while she had time and space, seeing she could not bear the queen's proceedings; but her friend answered her, that it is ell enough to fly away, which remedy she might use if she pleased. "My case standeth otherwise," she said; " I am tied to a husband, and have besides young children at home; and then I know not how my husband, being a carnal man, will take my departure from him; therefore I am minded, for the love of Christ and his truth, to stand to the extremity of the matter."
The day after that on which Mr. Samuel suffered, these two pious wives, Potten and Trunchfield, were apprehended and imprisoned together. As they were both by sex and nature somewhat tender, so they were at first less able to endure the straitness of the prison, and especially the brewer's wile was cast into great agony and trouble of mind thereby. But Christ beholding the weak infirmity of his servant, did not fail to help her when she was in this necessity. At length they both suffered after Samuel, February 19th, 1556; greatly supported by many things that were said of him as well as by him. It was reported by some who were present at his sufferings, and saw him burn, that his body did shine as bright as new tried silver in the eyes of all that stood by. If, too, these holy women had read or heard of Mr. Samuel's letter left behind him, exhorting the faithful to patience and perseverance in the cause of Christ, it must have contributed much to their final support.
"A man knoweth not his time; but as the fish is taken with the angle, and as the birds are caught with a snare, so are men caught and taken in the perilous time when it cometh upon them. The time cometh; the day draweth near. Better were it to die than to live and see the miserable works which are done under the sun; such sudden and strange mutation, such woeful, heinous, and lamentable divisions so fast approach, and none, or very few, thoroughly repent. Alas, for this sinful nation, a people of great iniquity and seed of ungraciousness, corrupting their ways. They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger, and are gone backward. Who now liveth not in such security and rest, as though all dangers were clean over past? Who now blendeth and buffeteth not Christ, and then asketh him to tell the smitter? Yea, who liveth not now in such felicity, worldly pleasures and joys, wholly seeking the world, providing and craftily shifting for the earthly clod and carnal appetite, as though sin were clean forgotten, overthrown, and devoured? Loke hoggish Gergesites, we are more afraid and ashamed of Christ our Messiah, fearing the loss of our filthy pigs, I mean our transitory goods, and disquieting our sinful and mortal bodies in this short, uncertain, and miserable life, than of a legion of devils, seducing and riving us from hearing, reading, and believing in Christ God's eternal Son, and his word, the power to save our soul, unto vanities, lies, and fables, an to this bewitching world.
"Let us be constant in obeying God rather than men. For although they slay our sinful bodies for God's verity; yet they cannot do it but by God's sufferance and good will, to his praise and honour, and to our eternal joy and felicity. For our blood shed for the gospel, shall preach it with more fruit, and greater furtherance, than did our mouths, lives, and writings; as did the blood of Able, and Stephen, with many others. What though they laugh Christ and his word to scorn, who sit in the chair of perverse pestilent scoffers; to whom, as to the wise Gentiles of the world, the gospel of Christ is but foolishness, as it was to the Jews a slander and a stumbling stone, whereat they now being fallen, have provoked the wrath and vengeance of God upon them.
"Let us therefore with an earnest faith lay fast hold on the promises in the gospel, and let us not be separated from the same by any temptation, tribulation, or persecution. Let us consider the verity of God to be invincible, inviolable, and immutable, promising and giving us, his faithful soldiers, life eternal. It is he only that hath deserved it for us: it is his only benefit, and of his only mere mercy, and unto him only must we render thanks. Let not therefore the vain fantasies and dreams of men, and foolish gaudy toys of the world, nor the crafty delusions of the devil, drive and separate us from our hope of the last day. O that happy and joyful day, I mean to the faithful, when Christ by his covenant shall grant and give unto them that overcome, and keep his words to the end, that they may ascend and sit with him, as he ascended and sitteth on the throne with his Father. The same body and soul that is now with Christ afflicted, shall then with Christ be glorified: now in the butcher's hands, as sheep appointed to die, then sitting at God's table, with Christ in his kingdom, as God's honourable and dear children; where we shall have heavenly riches for earthly poverty; saturity of the pleasant presence of the glory of God, for hunger and thirst; celestial joys in the company of angels, for sorrows, troubles, and cold irons; and life eternal for bodily death. O happy precious souls! O welcome death, and evermore blessed, right dear in the eyes of God! to you the spring of the Lord shall ever be flourishing. Then, as saith Isaiah, 'The redeemed shall return and come again unto Sion, praising the Lord, and eternal mercies shall be over their heads: and they shall obtain mirth and solace; sorrow and woe shall be utterly vanquished.' 'Yea, I am he,' saith the Lord, 'that in all things giveth you everlasting consolation.' To whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory and praise for ever. Amen."
After the suffering of Mr. Samuel, about the beginning of September, William Allen, a labouring man, was burnt in Walsingham in the same country of Norfolk. Being brought before the bishop, and asked the cause why he was imprisoned, he answered, That he was put in prison because he would not follow the cross, meaning, that he would never go in procession after the popish crucifix. Then being willed by the bishop to return again to the catholic church, he answered, that he would turn to the catholic church, but not to the Romish church: adding, that if he saw the king and queen, and all others follow the cross, or kneel down to the cross, he would not. For this, sentence of condemnation was given against him on the 12th of August, to be burnt at the town of his abode and birth. He declared such constancy at his martyrdom, and had such credit with the justices, by reason of his well-tried conversation among them, that he was suffered to go unbound to his execution, and there being fastened with a chain, stood quietly without shrinking until he died.
The next martyr worthy of notice was a venerable patriarch of the name of Roger Coo, who suffered at Yoxford, where he had chiefly lived, about the same time as Mr. Allen at Walsingham, and Mr. Samuel at Ipswich. All these towns being in the diocese of Norwhich, the martyrdoms of Suffolk as well as Norfolk must be ascribed to the "tender mercies" of the bishop of that see, Dr. Hopton. Being brought before that cruel prelate, Coo was first asked by him why he was imprisoned; and answered boldly--"At the justice's commandment."
Bish. There was some cause why you were imprisoned?
Coo. Here is my accuser, who alleges that I would not receive the sacrament. But I thought I had transgressed no law, because there was no law to transgress. I have been in prison a long time, and know not the law that now is.
Accuser. No, nor will not. My lord, ask him when he received the sacrament.
Coo. I pray you, my lord, let him sit down, and examine me yourself. I will not receive, because the bishop of Rome hath changed God's ordinances, and given the people bread and wine instead of the gospel, and the belief of the same.
Bish, is not the holy church to be believed? It hath charge of your soul.
Coo. I believe it, if it be built upon the word of God: but if you have charge of my soul, and you go to the devil for your sins, what shall become of me?
Bish. Do you not believe as your father did? Was not he an honest man?
Coo. It is written, that after Christ hath suffered, "There shall come a people with the prince that shall destroy both city and sanctuary." I pray you shew me whether this destruction was in my father's time, or now? I will obey the laws of the kingdom as far as they agree with the word of God; but no farther.
Bish. Whether they agree with the word of God or not, we are bound to obey them; yea and if the king were an infidel.
Coo. If Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had so done, Nebuchadnezzar had no confessed the living God. I may say the same of Daniel and others.
Bish. These two-and-twenty years we have been governed by such kings.
Coo. My lord, why were you then dumb, and did not speak or bark?
Bish. I durst not for fear of death.
This hasty, and to all appearance inadvertent and unintended confession, operated as much against the bishop's cause as even the bold and ingenuous answers of honest Roger Coo. On resource was opened to the baffled bishop, he could report his prisoner to be contumacious and contemptuous to the ecclesiastical court. This was done; on which account Coo says in his narrative--"I recollected and wrote down my railing, as they called it, that light should not be taken for darkness, nor sin for holiness, and the devil for God, who ought to be feared and honoured both now and for ever, Amen." At length, after sundry troubles and conflicts with his adversaries, he was committed to the fire at Yoxford, in the county of Suffolk, where he most blessedly ended his aged years, about Michaelmas 1555.
Our next noble confessor, of ignoble birth and occupation, was one Thomas Cobb, a butcher of Haverhill, who was condemned on the 12th day of August, and executed in the month of September. Being brought and examined by Michael Dunnings, the bloody chancellor of Norwich, whether he believed that Christ is really and substantially in the sacrament of the altar? he answered, That the body of Christ, born of the Virgin, was in heaven, and otherwise he would not answer, because he had read it in the scriptures, that Christ did ascend, and never did descend since; and therefore said, that he had not learned in the scripture, that Christ should be in the sacrament. Then being demanded whether he would obey the laws of the realm of England, made for the unity of the faith, or no? he answered, That his body should be at the king and queen's commandment so far as the law of God would suffer. In fine, being condemned, he was burnt in the town of Thetford.
We must now return from the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, to Kent and the diocese of Canterbury: and here five worthy martyrs, whose lives were forfeited for the true testimony of Christ and his gospel, await our attention. George Catmer, and Robert Streater, were inhabitants of Hythe, a town on the southern coast. Anthony Burward was of Challock; George Brodbridge, of Broomfield; and James Tutty, of Brenchley. These good men were all together brought before Dr. Thorton, suffragan of Dover, and his accomplices, and were jointly and severally examined upon the usual articles, touching the sacrament of the altar, auricular confession, and the other peculiarities of the dominant church. Catmer, who was first examined, made answer thus--"Christ sitteth in heaven on the right hand of God the Father, and therefore I do not believe him to be in the sacrament of the altar; but he is in the worthy receiver spiritually; and the sacrament, as you use it, is an abominable idol." Next to him Robert Streater was asked, Whether he did believe the real presence of Christ in the sacrament of the altar? At once the resolute and honest man said--"I do not so believe, for you do maintain heresy and idolatry, in that you teach to worship a false god in the sacrament, enclosed in a box. It is you that are the malignant of the church: for in your church there are twenty things used against the law of God." Anthony Burward, though more brief, was equally firm and conclusive.
After him it was demanded of George Brodbridge what he said to those articles? He answered, that he would not be confessed by a priest, because no man could forgive his own sins. He further said, that in the sacrament of the altar there is no real body of our Saviour Christ, but bread given in remembrance of him. "Moreover," he said, "as for your holy bread, your holy water, and your holy mass, I do utterly defy them." Last of all, James Tutty made and confirmed the foregoing answers, though in words somewhat different. On this they were condemned as heretics, and were all five burned at Canterbury in one fire, about the middle of July then next following.
Although the rage and vehemency of the terrible persecution in queen Mary's days chiefly existed in London, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Kent, as hath been partly declared; yet notwithstanding, few parts of the realm were free from this fatal storm, but in almost all places some were put to death for the cause of righteousness. In the diocese of Litchfield and Coventry were tow persons, Thomas Hayward and John Goreway, both condemned as heretics, and burnt at Litchfield about the time of the martyrdoms just detailed.
Unto this present time pertaineth also the memorable martyrdom of Mr. Robert Glover, gent., in the diocese of Litchfield and Coventry. He was apprehended, and put to death in September; but his apprehension and troubles cannot well be treated of, without mentioning some things relating to John Glover, for whom the commission was chiefly sent down, although it pleased God that John escaped, and Robert in his stead was apprehended and martyred. In describing some part of their virtuous order of life, we shall begin with John the eldest, who, being heir to his father in the town of Manchester, was endowed with considerable possessions and worldly goods; but much more plentifully was he enriched with God's heavenly grace, which so wrought in him, that he with his brethren, Robert and William, received and embraced the happy light of Christ's holy gospel, and also most zealously professed it, and lived accordingly.
John Glover was a man of a very tender conscience, and seemed to have a deeper sense of heavenly things than the others. His spiritual have a deeper sense of heavenly things than the others. His spiritual conflicts were very extraordinary. For a long time he had dwelt under the fearful impression of having committed the sin against the Holy Ghost, as spoken of by the Lord Jesus, which, precluding from his mind all hope of future happiness, rendered him extremely miserable; so that he could enjoy nothing, but was worn as by a baleful disease. At length it pleased God to give him faith, when his fears were dispersed, and he could cry Abba, Father. He now was filled with joy and peace, became dead to the world, and seemed like one in heaven, abhorring in his mind all profane doings. Neither was his talk any thing different from the fruits of his life, never throwing out an idle, vile, or vain word. The most part of his lands he distributed to the use of his brethren, and committed the rest to the management of his servants and officers, whereby he might the more quietly give himself up to his godly study, as to a continual sabbath. This was bout the latter end of king Henry's reign, and continued in the time of the young and pious Edward.
After this, in the persecuting days of queen Mary, as soon as the bishop of Coventry heard of his fame, and of his being so ardent and zealous in the gospel of Christ, he immediately wrote a letter to the mayor and officers of Coventry to apprehend him as soon as possible. But by the good providence of God, it happened otherwise: for God disposeth all things after his own pleasure. Therefore, of his divine wisdom, thinking it too much that one man should be so overcharged with so many sufferings, did provide, that Robert his brother, being both stronger in body, and also better furnished with helps of learning to answer the adversaries, should sustain that conflict, and even so it came to pass. For as soon as the mayor of Coventry had received the bishop's letters for the apprehending of Mr. John Glover, he forthwith sent private notice to him to convey himself away, who accordingly escaped with his brother William.
But when the officer had searched a long time for him in vain, he went into an upper chamber, where he found Robert lying on his bed, he having been long sick, and brought him immediately before the sheriff. The sheriff, notwithstanding, favouring Robert and his cause, would indeed fain have dismissed him, and wrought what means he could, saying, that he was not the man for whom they were sent: yet, being terrified with the threats of the officer, who insisted on his being detained till the bishop's coming, he was constrained to carry him against his well, and so confined him till the bishop arrived. To enter, however, upon the story and martyrdom of Mr. Robert Glover, as the whole narration of the same by his own record and testimony in writing was sent into his wife, it seems best, for the more credit of the matter, to exhibit extracts from his own letter:--
"To my entirely beloved wife, Mary Glover,
"The peace of conscience which passeth all understanding, the sweet consolation, comfort, strength, and boldness of the Holy Ghost, be continually increased in your heart, through a fervent, earnest, and steadfast faith in our most dear and only Saviour Jesus Christ. I thank you heartily, for your letters sent to me in my imprisonment. I read them with tears more than once or twice; with tears of joy and gladness, that God had wrought in you so merciful a work; an unfeigned repentance, a humble and hearty reconciliation, a voluntary submission and obedience to the will of God in all things. Which when I read in your letters, and judged them to proceed from your heart, I could not but be thankful to God, rejoicing for you, and these his great mercies poured upon you.
"After I came into prison, and had reposed myself there a while, I wept for you and gladness, musing much of the great mercies of God, and saying to myself--O Lord, who am I, on whom thou shouldst bestow this great mercy, to be numbered among the saints that suffer for the gospel's sake! Not long after, Mr. William Brasbridge, Mr. Charles Phineas, and Mr. Nicholas Hopkins, came unto me, persuading me to be dismissed upon bonds. But I answered, that s the masters had nothing to burden me withal; if I should enter into bonds, I should in so doing accuse myself; and seeing they had no matter to lay to my charge, they might as well let me pass without bonds as with them.
"They, however, used many worldly persuasions to me to avoid the present peril, and also how to avoid the forfeiture if I brake my promise. I said, I had cast up my pennyworth by God's help. They undertook also to make the bond easy.--Then the second day after the bishop's coming to Coventry, Mr. Warren came to the Guildhall, and ordered the chief jailer to carry me to the bishop. I laid to Mr. Warren's charge the cruel seeking of my death; and when he would have excused himself, I told him he could not wipe his hands so; for he was as guilty of my blood before God, as though he had murdered me with his own hands. Thus he departed from me, saying, I needed not to fear if I would be of his belief.
"When I cam before the bishop in Mr. Denton's house, he began with the protestation, that he was my bishop for lack of a better, and willed me to submit myself. Mr. Chancellor standing by, said I was a master of arts. Then my lord laid to my charge my not coming to the church. Here I might have dallied with him, and put him to his proof, forasmuch a I had not been in his diocese for a long season, neither were any of the citizens able to prove any such matter against me. Notwithstanding I answered him through God's merciful help, that I neither had, nor would come to their church, so long as their mass was used there, to save, if I had them, five hundred lives. I desired him to shew me one jot or tittle in the scriptures for the proof and evidence of the mass. To this he answered, he came to teach, and not to be taught. I told him I was content to learn of him, so far as he was able to teach me by the word of God.
"'Who shall judge the world?' then asked the bishop. I answered--'Christ was willing that the people should judge his doctrine by searching the scriptures, and so was Paul; methinks you should claim no further privilege nor pre-eminence than they had.--If you will be believed because you are a bishop, why find you fault with the people that believed bishop Latimer, bishop Ridley, and bishop Hooper?' 'Because they were heretics,' he quickly answered. I then asked--'And may not you err as well as they?' I expected my lord to use some learned arguments to persuade me, but instead of that he oppressed me only with his authority. He said, I dissented from the church, and asked me where my church was before king Edward's time? But I desired him to shew me where their church was in Elias's time, and what outward shew it had in Christ's time? To this he answered, 'Elias's complaint was only of the ten tribes that fell from David's house, whom he called heretics.' But I said confidently--'You are not able to shew any prophets that the other two tribes had at that same time.'
"My lord making no answer to that, Mr. Rogers, one of the masters of the city, cometh in the mean season, taking upon him as though he would answer to the text. But my lord forthwith commanded me to be committed to some tower, if they had any besides the common jail, saying, he would at the end of the visitation of his diocese, drive out such wolves. Mr. Rogers willed him to content himself for that night, till they had taken further order for me. 'Even where it pleaseth you,' said I to my lord--'I am content;' and so I was returned at that time to the common jail again from whence I came.
"Certain sergeants and constables at Coventry being appointed to convey us to Litchfield, to be delivered there to one Jephcot, the chancellor's man, sent from Coventry with us for the same purpose, we were commanded to be on horseback about eleven o'clock on Friday, it being a market day, in order that we might be the more gazed at: and to set the people's hearts more against us, they exhibited a letter concerning a proclamation made for calling in and disannulling al such books as truly expounded the scriptures. We arrived at Litchfield about four o'clock, and had leave to repose ourselves till supper-time. The house we put up at was the sign of the Swan, where we were entertained friendly and gently.
"I was put into a prison that same night, where I continued till I was condemned, in a place next the dungeon, where was small room, a strong building, and very cold, with little light; and there I was allowed a bundle of straw instead of my bed, without chair, form, or any thing else to rest myself upon. God of his mercy gave me great patience through prayer that night, so that if it had been his pleasure, I could have been contented then to have ended my life: but Jephcot, and one Percy, the bishop's man, who afterwards was my continual keeper for the most part, came to me in the morning, to whom I said--'This is a great extremity, God send us patience.' Upon which they consented that I should have a bed of my own procuring. But I was allowed no help, neither night nor day, nor company of any kind, notwithstanding my great sickness; nor yet paper, pen, ink, or books, except my New Testament in Latin, and a Prayer-book which I brought privily in.
"Within two days after, Mr. Chancellor, and Mr. Temsey, a prebendary there, came into my prison. The first exhorted me to conform myself to my lord and to the church. He wished no more hurt to my soul than he did to his own; perhaps this was because I had laid to his charge at Coventry the seeking of my blood unjustly and wrongfully. I answered, that I refused not to be ruled by that church, which was content to be governed by the word of God. He asked me, 'How know you the word of God, but by the church?' I answered--'The church sheweth which is the word of God, therefore the church is above the word of God! This is no good reason in learning, Mr. Chancellor. For it is like unto this--'John sheweth the people who Christ was; therefore John was above Christ!'
"He said, he came not to reason with me, and so departed. And I remained for the space of eight days without further conference with any man, until the bishop's coming: in which time I gave myself continually to prayer and meditation on the merciful promises of God unto all, without exception of person, that call upon the name of his Son Jesus Christ. I found in myself daily amendment of health of body, increase of peace in conscience, and many consolations from God, by the help of his Holy Spirit, and sometimes as it were a taste and glimmering of the life to come.
"At the bishop's first coming to Litchfield after my imprisonment, I was called into a by-chamber next to my prison to meet him. When I came before him, and saw none but his officers, chaplains, and servants, except it were an old priest, I was partly amazed, and lifted up my heart to God for his merciful help and assistance. He asked me how I liked my imprisonment; but I gave him no answer touching that question. He then proceeded to persuade me to be a member of his church, which had continued so many years. As for my church, he said to me, it was not known but lately in Edward's time. To this I answered, that I professed myself to be a member of that church which is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the head corner-stone; and so alleged the place of St. Paul to the Ephesians. And this church hath been from the beginning, through it bear no glorious shew before the world, being ever for the most part, under the cross and affliction, contemned, despised, and persecuted. When my lord contended on the other side, that they were the church, I said--'So cried all the clergy against the prophets of Jerusalem, saying, 'The church of the Lord, the church of the Lord.' And always when I was about to speak anything, my lord cried, 'Hold thy peace, I me a proud arrogant heretic. Upon this contemptuous abuse, I desired him to lay something to my charge in particular, and then to convince me with some scriptures and good learning.
"He began to move certain questions. I refused to answer him in corners, requiring that I might make my answer openly. He said I should answer him there. I should with him upon that point till he said I should go to prison again, and there have neither meat nor drink till I had answered him. Then I lifted up my heart to God, that I might stand and agree with the doctrine of his most holy word; while he prepared to ask me--How many sacraments Christ instituted to be used in the church? I answered without hesitation--The sacrament of baptism, and the sacrament that he instituted at his last supper. He expressed surprise that I mentioned no other sacraments, and asked me further, Whether I allowed their confession, and absolution? to which I answered, 'No:' adding thus--'To all those who declare a true and unfeigned repentance, a sure hop and trust in the death of Christ; to such the ministers of Christ have authority to pronounce in his name the remission of sins.' Then the bishop would know my mind, what I thought of the presence of Christ's body in the sacrament. To which I answered--That their mass was neither sacrifice nor sacrament, because they had taken away the true institution, which, when they restored again, I would tell them my judgment concerning Christ's body in the sacrament."
Thus much did this worthy martyr of God leave behind him in his own hand-writing, concerning the manner of his usage in prison, and also of his disputes with the bishop and his chancellor. More examinations he had, no doubt, with the bishop in the public consistory, before he was brought forth to be condemned, which he would also have left unto us, if either length of life or leisure of time had permitted him to finish what he intended; but by reason of the writ of his burning being sent from London, want of time did neither serve him so to do, neither could the records of his last examination be procured.
Only this could be learned by the relation of one Austen Bernher, a minister, and a familiar friend of his. Mr. Robert Glover, after he was condemned by the bishop, and was now to be delivered out of this world, found his heart heavy, and desolate of all spiritual consolation, and felt in himself no willingness, but rather a heaviness and dullness of spirit, to bear the bitter cross of martyrdom. This led to serious and devout self-examination; fearing in himself lest the Lord had utterly withdrawn his wonted favour from him, he made his moan to this Bernher, his friend, signifying unto him how earnestly he had prayed day and night unto the Lord, and yet could receive no sense of comfort from him. By a faithful friend, but one kind of advice could be given. Bernher desired him patiently to wait the Lord's pleasure, and whosoever his present feeling was, yet seeing his cause was just and true, he exhorted him constantly to adhere to the same, and to play the man, nothing doubting but that the Lord in his good time would visit him, and satisfy his desire with plenty of consolation.
The night before his martyrdom was spent in praying for strength and courage to endure manfully the fiery trail; but strange to say that strength and courage which he sought were delayed till almost the moment that he needed them. When the time came of his martyrdom, as he was going to the place, and was come within sight of the stake, suddenly he was so mightily replenished with God's holy comfort and heavenly joy, that he cried out, clapping his hands to Austen, "Austen, he is come, he is come!" and that with such joy and alacrity as one seeming rather to be risen from some deadly danger to liberty and life, than as one passing out of the world by any pains of death. Such was the change of the marvellous working of the Lord's hand upon that good man. It is impossible to read such a memorial of divine interposition, preceded by a mysterious absence of courage and comfort, without calling to mind several remarkable passages of holy writ. "God is our refuge and strength--a very present help in time of trouble.--The Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their strength is gone, and there is none shut up or left.--It shall come to pass in that day the light shall not be clear nor dark: but it shall be one day which shall be known unto the Lord, not day nor night; and it shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light."--Psa. xlvi. 1; Deut. xxii. 36; Zech. xiv. 6,7.
In the same fire with Mr. Glover was Cornelius Bungay, of Coventry, likewise burnt. He also was condemned by the bishop of Coventry and Litchfield. It was objected against him, that for three years past, in the cities of Coventry and Litchfield, and places thereabout, he did hold, maintain, argue, and teach, that the priest hath no power to absolve from sins. That by baptism sins are not washed away, because that the washing of the flesh purgeth the flesh outwardly, and not the soul. That there are in the church only two sacraments, baptism and the Lord's supper. That in the sacrament of the altar was not the real body and blood of Christ, but the substance of bread and wine. That the pope is not the head of the visible church ere on earth. That all these premises are true, manifest, and notorious, and that upon the same there hath been and is a public voice and fame, as well in the places above rehearsed as in other quarters also about.
To these articles Mr. Bungay answered much in the manner of his suffering brethren preceding him; without fear of the consequence of confessing their general application to himself; at the same time prudently qualifying all points wherein the charge against him was pushed beyond the truth, and he was made responsible for what he did not believe. His condemnation soon followed, and the citizens of Coventry were excited by the spectacle of two of the worthiest of their fraternity consumed to ashes for no crime, but for their resolute preservation of a good conscience and a pure faith.
John and William Glover, the brothers of Robert Glover, ought not to be omitted in this history: although they were not called to martyrdom, yet they were cast out of the church, and excommunicated even after they were dead, by having christian burial denied them. When the sheriffs, with their under officers and servants, were sent to seek John Glover, they came into his house, where he and his wife were. It chanced as he was in a chamber by himself, the officers bursting into the house, and searching other rooms. Came to the very room where John was, who holding the latch softly in his hand, perceived and heard the officers bustle about the door, one of whom having the string in his hand, was ready to draw the same. Meanwhile another coming by, whose voice he heard and knew, bade them come away, saying, they had been there before. Whereupon they departing thence, went to search other corners of the house, till they found Agnes Glover, his wife, who being carried to Litchfield, and examined before the bishop, at length was constrained to give place to their tyranny. Her husband, in the mean time, partly for care of his wife, partly through cold taken in the woods where he lay, caught in ague, of which he lost his life, which the cruel papists so long had sought for.
Six weeks after he was dead and buried in the church-yard, without priest or clerk, Dr. Dracot, then chancellor, sent for the parson of the town, and demanded how it happened that he was buried there. The parson answered that he was sick at the time, and knew not of it. Then the chancellor commanded him to go home, and cause the body to be taken up, and cast over the wall into the highway. The parson answered, that it had been six weeks in the earth, and that in consequence none were able to undertake it. "Well," said Dr. Dracot, "then take this bill and pronounce him in the pulpit a damned soul, and a twelvemonth after take up his bones, when the flesh will be consumed, and cast them over the wall, that the horses may tread upon them, and then I will come and hallow again that place in the church-yard where he was buried." This was recorded b the parson of the town, and told to Mr. Robert Glover's wife, by whose credible information we received the same.
Similar usage was practised also by these catholic tyrants upon the body of William, the third brother, whom it had pleased Almighty God about the same season to call out of this vale of misery. The well-disposed people of the Town of Wem, in Shropshire, where he died, brought the body into the parish church, intending there to have buried it. But one Bernard, curate of the said church, in order to stop the burial, rode to the bishop to inform him of the matter, and to have his advice therein. In the mean time the body having lain a whole day, in the night time Richard Maurice, a tailor, would have interred him, but he was hindered by John Thorlyne, of Wem, with some others, who would not suffer the body to be buried; expressing the contrary examples of good Tobit; for as he was religious in burying the dead, so this man's religion consisted in not burying it. So that after he had lain there two days and a night, Bernard, the curate, came with the bishop's letter, < a name="return6">which forbad the interment of the body, and which commanded the church-wardens to assist the curate in hindering any persons who should attempt to put it in the ground. Accordingly they who brought the corpse to the church were obliged to carry it back again at their own charges. But as it was corrupted, they were forced to draw it with horses into a broom-field, and there bury it. The same example of charitable affection was also to be seen and noted in the burying of one Edward Burton, Esq. who in the diocese of Chester, departing this world the day before queen Elizabeth was crowned, required of his friends, as they would answer for it, that his body should be buried in his parish church, which was St. Chad's, in Shrewsbury, and that no Romish priest should be present thereat. This thing being declared to the curate of that parish, John Marshall, and the body being brought to the burial, upon the same day when the queen was crowned, the curate said plainly that it should not be buried in the church there. Whereunto one of the friends of the deceased, named George Torpelley, answering again, said, That God would judge him in the last day. Then said the priest, 'Judge, God, or devil, the body shall not come there! And so they buried him in his own garden.
In the same county, one Oliver Richardine, of the parish of Whitchurch, was burnt in Haverford-west, Sir John young being sheriff the same time, which seemeth to have been about the last year of king Henry VIII.
William Wolsey and Robert Pygot were the next who followed Robert Glover and Cornelius Bungey to martyrdom. They were both of the town of Wisbeach, and were judged and condemned at Ely, by John Fuller, the bishop's chancellor, Dr. Shaxton, his suffragan, Robert Steward, dean of Ely, and John Christopherson, dean of Norwich, harshly treated by one Everard, a justice, who caused him to put in sureties for his good behaviour and appearance at the next general sessions held within the isle of Ely. Being called again at the next sessions, he was still constrained to put in new sureties, which at length he refused to do, and inconsequence was committed to jail at the assize held at Ely in Lent.
In the Easter week following, Dr. Fuller, the chancellor, with Christopherson, and Dr. Young, came to confer with him, and charged him with being out of the catholic faith, desiring him to meddle no further with the scriptures, than it became such a layman as he was to do. Wolsey stood still a great while, suffering them to speak their pleasure; at last he answered--"Good Mr. Doctor, what did our Saviour Christ mean, when he spake these words--'Woe unto you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites; for ye shut u the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." To this Dr. Fuller answered that he must understand, that Christ spake to the scribes and pharisees. Nothing daunted, Wolsey made this smart reply--"Nay, Mr. Doctor, Christ spake even to you, and your fellows here present, and to all such as you are." To ward off this charge, Dr. Fuller left him a book to read, of a learned man's writing, that is to say, Dr. Watson's, who was then bishop of Lincoln.
Wolsey receiving the book, diligently read it over, and found it in many places manifestly contrary to God's word. At length, a fortnight or three weeks following, Dr. Fuller resorting again to the prison to converse with Wolsey, asked him how he liked the book. Wolsey replied, that he liked the book no otherwise than he thought before he should find it. Whereupon the chancellor taking his book, departing home. But at night, when Dr. Fuller came to his chamber to look on it, he found in many places, contrary to his mind, the book rased with a pen by Wolsey, and being vexed therewith, called him an obstinate heretic.
The assizes to be held at Wisbeach drawing nigh, Dr. Fuller came again to Wolsey, and spake to him on this manner--"Thou dost much trouble my conscience, wherefore I pray thee depart, and rule thy tongue, so that I hear no more complaint of thee, and come to the church when thou wilt; and if thou be complained upon, so far as I may, I promise thee I will not hear of it." The bold and just answer of Wolsey to this crafty proposal was in admirable keeping with apostolic precedent. When an earthquake had shaken to the foundation the goal in which Paul and Silas were imprisoned at Philippi, the magistrates issued a permission for them to depart: but Paul said unto the messenger--"They have cast us uncondemned into prison, and now would privily thrust us out: nay, verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out." In the same spirit of truth and justice, Wolsey said--"Doctor, I was brought hither by a law, and by a law I will be delivered." Being then brought to the sessions, he was laid in the castle at Wisbeach, he and all his friends thinking that he should have suffered there at that present time, but it proved otherwise.
Robert Pygot was a painter, and being at liberty, was presented by some evil disposed persons, sworn men as they called them, for not coming to the church. Being called in the sessions, he would not absent himself, but appeared before Sir Clement Hygham, who was judge, who said unto him--"Ah, are you the holy father the painter? How chance you came not to the church?" Pygot said--"I am not out of the church, I trust in God." The judge, evading the subject, said--"No, Sir, this is no church, this is a hall." To which Pagot answered--"I know very well it is a hall: but he that is in the true faith of Jesus Christ, is never absent, but ever present in the church of God." On this the judge exclaimed--"Ah, sirrah! you are too high for me to talk with, wherefore I will send you to them that are better learned than I am." He straightway commanded him to the jail where Wolsey lay; and the sessions being ended, they were carried again to Ely prison.
In the mean time some of their neighbours of Wisbeach being at Ely, came to see how they did. There visited them also a chaplain of bishop Goodrike, a Frenchman, named Peter Valentius, who said to Wolsey and Pygot--"My brethren, according to my office I am come to talk with you, for I have been almoner here these twenty years and above. Wherefore I must desire you, to take it in good part that I am come. I promise you not to pull you from your faith. But I both require and desire in the name of Jesus Christ, that you stand to the truth of the gospel and word, and I beseech the almighty God, for his son Jesus Christ's sake, to preserve both you and me in the same unto the end. For I know not myself how soon I shall be at the same point that you are." Thus with many like words he proceeded, causing all that were there present to water their cheeks with tears, contrary to the expectation they all had of him.
A short time after Pygot and Wolsey were called to judgment, before Dr. Fuller,then chancellor, with old Dr. Shaxton, Christopherson, and others in commission, who laid earnestly to their charge for their belief in divers articles, but especially of the sacrament of the altar was an idol, and that the natural body and blood of Christ were not present really in the sacrament; and to this opinion they said they would keep, perfectly believing the same to be no heresy, but the very truth. On this the doctors said, that they were out of the catholic faith. Shaxton added, "Good brethren, remember yourselves, and become new men, for I myself was in this fond opinion that you are now in, but I am now become a new man." Wolsey answered, "Ah! are you become a new man? Woe be to thee, thou wicked new man, for God shall justly judge thee." "Say nought unto him." Dr. Fuller then said; "this Wolsey is an obstinate fellow, and one that I could never do good upon. But as for the painter, he is a man quiet and indifferent, as far as I perceive, and is soon reformed, and may very well be delivered for an ill opinion I find in him."
In this, however, Fuller was mistaken, for on Christopherson writing a confession for Pygot to sign, the latter refused, on the ground that it was their faith and not his. On this the writer of the confession taunted Fuller, and said--"Lo, Doctor! you would have let this fellow go, who in as much a heretic as the other." And so immediately judgment was given upon them to die. Which done, after the sentence was read, they were sent again to prison. On the day appointed for their execution, one Peacock, a bachelor of divinity, being to preach, took his text out of the first epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, of one that had lived inordinately by abusing his father's wife; comparing the martyrs to the same man, oftentimes saying that such members must be cut off from the congregation; most maliciously reporting Wolsey to be out of the faith, and in many places palpably opposing the very letter of scripture.
His sermon being ended, the prisoners were brought to the place of execution, and bound to the stake with a chain; thither came Richard Colinson, a priest, who said unto Wolsey--"Brother Wolsey, the preacher hath openly reported in his sermon this day, that you are quite out of the catholic faith, and deny baptism, and that you do err in the holy scripture; wherefore I beseech you, for the certifying of my conscience, with others where present, that you declare in what place of the scripture you do err and find fault." To this Wolsey solemnly answered--"I take the eternal and everlasting God to witness, that I do deny no part or point of God's book, the holy bible, but hold and believe in the same to be most firm and sound doctrine in all points most worthy for my salvation, and for all other christians to the end of the world. Whatsoever mine adversaries report of me, God forgive them there-fore." With that came one to the fire with a great sheet full of books to burn, like as they have been New Testaments. Said Wolsey--"O do give me one of them!" Pygot desired another; both of them clapping them close to their breasts, saying the 106th Psalm, desiring all the people to say, Amen! They then were soon enveloped in flames, committing their souls to the Lord Jesus Christ."
Wolsey, while in prison at Ely, was visited by Thomas Hodilo, brewer. To whom he delivered certain money to be distributed, part to his wife, and part to his kinsfolks and friends, and especially six and eight-pence to Richard Denton, a smith at Wellney, Cambridgeshire, with his commendation, that he marvelled he tarried so long behind him, seeing that he was the first who delivered the book of scripture into his hand, and assured him that it was the truth. Hodilo both to avoid the danger of the time, and to have a witness to the transaction, delivered the sum of money to Mr. Lawrence, a preacher, in Essex, to be distributed as Wolsey had appointed; which thing he performed, riding from place to place. When this six shillings and eight-pence were delivered to Richard Denton, with the message, his answer was this, "I confess it is true, but alas! I cannot burn." This was almost a year after Wolsey had suffered. But he that could not burn for the cause of Christ, was afterwards burnt against his will, even after Christ had given peace to his church. For in the year 1564, his house was set on fire, and he endeavouring to save his goods, perished in the flames, with two others--an event interpreted by most as a judgment for his fearfulness. Not much unlike this, was the example of Mr. West, chaplain to bishop Ridley, who refusing to suffer in the cause of Christ, with his master, said mass against his conscience, and died soon after.
--Footnote marker f--BT 4 words "the scriptures of God"
Instead of leaving the admirable arguments of Mr. Newman weakened by the interposition of short and colloquial questions, they have been rendered continuous by the omission of those questions: at the same time not an atom of the reasoning of this good man has been suffered to escape, nor in a single instance had his meaning been misinterpreted.
--Footnote marker g--BT 4 words "Warne, and Joan Lashford"
This young woman appears to have been the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Warne, and a child worthy of such holy and devoted parents. Whether the name Lashford arose from her being married, or was a second name by which she was generally known, is uncertain.
--Footnote marker h--BT 4 words "and all this audience"
This is a striking instance of a feature too common in Bonner's character, uniting ingenious wit with cool deliberate barbarity, presenting the most cruel parts of his disposition from beneath a mask of the greatest hypocrisy. He sought to convey to those who heard him, not perhaps expecting the lord mayor himself, that upon Smith's recantation he should be delivered from his present thraldom and peril: whereas it is too clear that the sanguinary dissembler meant only that the reward of recantation should be a more speedy dispatch by the fire, a more prompt sentence and a quicker burning! In this light Smith evidently viewed it.
--Footnote marker i--BT 4 words "king were an infidel"
A modern prelate discovered exactly the same spirit; who said in the House of Lords, that the poor had nothing to do with the laws but to obey them.
--Footnote marker k--BT 4 words "by the Lord Jesus"
As the opinions of commentators and learned men, respecting the sin against the Holy Ghost, have been swelled into volumes, and as it still remains a mystery in the minds of multitudes, we here present to our readers an extract upon the subject, from an author who has, in our opinion, the clearest views upon it. After having satisfactorily answered all the objections which could reasonably be made to his arguments, he thus proceeds.
"In a word, the conclusion of the whole may again be collected thus--In the days of Moses, and before Moses from the beginning, not to believe the Holy Ghost and what he then witnessed, by whomsoever, or in whatsoever manner he chose to declare the saving truth, was to sin against the Holy Ghost. From Moses down to the coming of the Holy One and the Just, not to believe the doctrine then delivered by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, was the very sin against the Holy Ghost, in those days. When the Messiah, after John the Baptist, his forerunner, came and taught and wrought miracles, the unbelievers sinned against the Holy Ghost still more and more. But when Jesus was declared the Son of God, with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead; and the gospel, by the Holy Ghost from heaven, was preached to every creature under heaven, whithersoever the apostles with their doctrines were sent, as they now are unto us, at this day,--the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost arrived at the very highest pitch of aggravation. And who, sayest thou, is guilty of it?--Thou, thy very individual self, O reader! art indeed at this present moment of God's long suffering and forbearance, guilty of this most alarming sin and blasphemy against the Holy Ghost; holding him for a liar in his testimony concerning the Son of God, if thou hast not verily set to thy seal that God is true, and hast not attained the same precise, honourable, divine faith, as all the apostles themselves had, and which they preached by the Holy Ghost, and have also recorded in their writings, which are our standard: for the faith of all God's elect is one, and their hope one in the Lord. 'Be not deceived--God is not mocked; as a man soweth, so shall he also reap. These things are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye may have life through his name.'
Such is the note of Milner, in the edition of 1806. To this editor of the present edition begs leave to append the following somewhat qualifying remarks from the admirable "Conversations" of the Rev. Richard Watson. "On our Lord's return to Capernaum he cast out a devil which had inflicted both blindness and dumbness upon an unhappy man. This was a case of peculiarly afflictive and notorious possession: and it was the impression made by this miracle in favour of his Messiahship upon the minds of the people, which led the Pharisees to utter the blasphemy--'This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils!' This was the wretched argument by which they steeled their perverted consciences against all conviction, and which constituted that sin against the Holy Ghost, whose power co-operated with Christ in working his miracles, which was declared to be beyond forgiveness. This is the only unpardonable sin. It is not every sin against the Holy Ghost which is unpardonable, though some make awful approaches to that which is so: but this sin, the only one excepted from divine mercy, is defined to be blasphemy against Him."
--Footnote marker l--BT 4 words "with the bishop's letter"
Understanding that one Glover, a heretic, is dead in the parish of Wem, which Glover hath for all the time of my being in this country been known for a rebel against our holy faith and religion, a contemner of the holy sacraments and ceremonies used in the holy church, and hath separated himself from the holy communion of all good Christian men, and never required to be reconciled to our mother holy church, nor in his last days did call for his ghostly father, but died without all rites belonging to a christian man" I thought it good, not only to command the curate of Wem that he should not be buried with Christian
man's burial, but also will and command the curate of Wem, that no man procure help,
nor speak to have him buried in holy ground" but I do charge and command the
churchwardens of Wem, in special, and all the parish of the same, that they
assist the said curate in defending, and letting, and procuring that he be nor buried
in the church, or within the walls of the churchyard: and likewise I charge those that brought the body to the place to carry it away again, and that at their charge, as they will answer at their peril.----At Eccleshall, this 6th day of September, anno 1558.
--Footnote marker n--BT 4 words "the Lord Jesus Christ"
Mr. Fox remarks in addition that he received from a friend, from the university of Cambridge, the following comparison of these two excellent martyrs--each excellent in his way. "Pygot was mild, humble, and modest, promising that he would conform to his persecutors, if they could persuade him by the scriptures. Wolsey was stout, strong, and vehement, as one having the fulness of the Spirit, and detested all their doing. Hence he was jealous over his friend, lest his gentle nature should have been overcome by the enticements of his foes; with whom therefore he was unwilling he should